Rules governing civil judgments vary from one state to the next. As an organization that specializes in judgment collection in California, we make it our business to fully understand the rules in the Golden State. For example, we are aware of the fact that California law provides for an Order of Examination (OE) in the event a debtor chooses not to pay.
The OE is one of several tools California judgment collectors have to work with. It goes above and beyond the simple disclosure debtors are expected to provide immediately after a judgment is entered against them. Unlike simple disclosure, an Order of Examination is issued by the court. It is legally enforceable through a variety of means.
In a perfect world, a creditor and debtor would amicably work out payment arrangements following a court-entered judgment. The debtor would make good on their responsibilities and the creditor would practice appropriate patience until the debt was paid off. But that world does not exist. And unfortunately, debtors willing to wind up in court facing a potential judgment are also willing to skip payment even when judgments are entered against them.
Judgment Collectors services clients in California. We make every effort to allow debtors to be cooperative. When they refuse, we take advantage of the tools California law provides. Those tools include the Order of Examination.
California creditors try to collect payment through normal means following a judgment. If a debt remains unpaid, a creditor can petition the court for an OE based on Section 708 of California’s Code of Civil Procedures. The order is used in conjunction with a subpoena to compel the debtor to appear in court.
The purpose of the court appearance is to force the debtor to disclose assets under court questioning. Depending on the debtor’s level of cooperation, the court’s questioning can be incredibly detailed. The debtor’s responses are considered official court testimony subject to all the same rules as any other form of testimony.
Unfortunately for some debtors, skipping an Order of Examination court hearing is too tempting to resist. But skipping a hearing is not a good idea. It can result in the court issuing an arrest warrant and, ultimately, the debtor spending some time in the county jail.
The OE is not a tool judgment collectors like to lean on too often. That being said, it is a powerful motivator to debtors who would otherwise do their utmost to avoid paying. The downside is that an Order of Examination could encourage a debtor to leave the state. Then collecting on an unpaid judgment becomes a greater challenge.
The good news for Judgment Collectors and our clients is that there are other ways to secure payment without employing the OE. In our business, there are a variety of methods for discovering debtor assets. We have access to plenty of sources of publicly available data. We also utilize proprietary databases. The result is an ability to discover assets even without relying on the OE.
Judgment Collectors is in your corner. We understand how frustrating it is to have to take a debtor to court. It is even more frustrating when you win a judgment but still cannot collect payment. If there is any good news it is this: California law gives debtors legal tools for pursuing payment.
We know what those tools are. We also know how to use them. If you have outstanding judgments in the state of California, we would be more than happy to help you collect on them. It is what we do.
Published July 7, 2022