all Sister State Judgments recognized in
Judgments entered in other states.
California law describes a Sister State
Judgment as “that part of any judgment,
decree, or order of a court of a state of the
United States, other than California, which
requires the payment of money, but does not
include a support order …. “.
Notice the broad language that includes
“decree, or order”.
Generally any Sister State Court Judgment,
Order or Decree that orders Money paid
qualifies for enforcement.
The Judgment, Order or Decree should name
a specific Judgment Debtor and identify a
specific Judgment Creditor.
How is a Sister State Money Judgment
First we must file an
Application with the Court to recognize the
Sister State Money Judgment. The proper county
is where the judgment debtor resides, or in any
county if the Judgment Debtor doesn’t reside
but does have property, assets, income,
operations, accounts, or debts owing to it in California.
What does Authenticated or
The Application must attach a
properly “authenticated” or
“exemplified” copy of the
judgment. This is different than a mere
An Authenticated or Exemplified copy of a
judgment generally has certifications of both
the clerk of the home state court and
the judge of the home state court.
are some examples:
How soon is a California Judgment Entered?
When the application is filed,
the Clerk of the
court enters a California Judgment immediately
based on the Application in the amount remaining
unpaid under the Sister State Judgment, plus the
accrued interest and the
filing fee. Up
to this point, no notice is given to the
Notice does the Debtor Get before the Sister
State Judgment is enforceable?
Before the newly entered California
Judgment can be enforced,
law requires the debtor be served with a Notice
of Entry of Sister State Judgment and the
The notice informs the Judgment Debtor
that he/she/it has 30 days to file a “motion
to vacate” the judgment. During this 30 days,
no enforcement can be attempted and the clerk of
the California Court will not issue enforcement
What claims can a debtor make to
avoid a Sister State Judgment?
Within those 30 days the
Judgment Debtor can file a “Motion to
Vacate” your Judgment in California but only
based “on any ground which would be a defense
to an action in this state on the sister state
Does the Debtor get a new trial in
NO!. This does not mean the
Judgment Debtor gets a new trial. You
will not have to come to
will not need witnesses here or have another
trial here. The
liability of the underlying case is already
established in the Sister State Judgment.
The Sister State Judgment can only be
challenged on very limited grounds such as it is a
forged judgment, original improper service of
process, lack of jurisdiction in the Sister
and several other procedural grounds.
Such challenges are not ordinarily seen
where service of process is strong and the
effort to enter the Sister State Judgment is
Are there other ways for a Sister
State Judgment Debtor to Stall the Judgment?
Challenges or requests for a
“Stay of Execution” (request to not let you
move forward with enforcement)
can occur because a “stay” was
granted in the originating state or an appeal is
pending or may be taken in the state which
originally entered the judgment.
Another catchall clause allows a stay in California
where “Any other circumstance exists where the
interests of justice require a stay of
These are rare and usually only occur
where the original judgment may not pass a
Are there any exceptions to having to
give notice and wait 30 days after?
There are three big exceptions
to serving advance Notice to the Judgment
if the Judgment Debtor is an individual and does
not reside in
if the Judgment Debtor is an entity
(corporation, LLC, partnership) and is not
qualified to do business in
(This is shown on the
State’s website); and
where you can prove that “great
or irreparable injury” would
result to the Judgment Creditor if the issuance
of the enforcement documents were delayed.
This generally means that there
is a danger that the Debtor will hide, conceal,
convey, or encumber assets if given notice.
The proof requirement is rigorous and
character, suspicion or past history usually
a Sister State Money Judgment as good as a California
YES! After 30 days without a Motion to Vacate or Stay
Enforcement, the Sister State Money Judgment has
“the same effect as an original money
judgment” of a California Court.
At that stage we record liens on personal
property and real property and get enforcement
documents and orders and continue attempts to
collect your money.