- Ask for a new trial (appeal) or to cancel (vacate) the judge's decision
- Pay the other side
- Give the other side information about what you earn or own
If you don't appeal (or vacate) or pay after 30 days, the other side can start to try to collect money from you.
If you want a new trial
You can appeal if you went to the trial, the judge decided you owe money, and you want a new trial
A small claims appeal is a new trial where a different judge decides the case. You and the other side can have a lawyer at the court date.
You can ask to cancel the judge's decision if you didn't go to the trial
If the judge cancels the decision, it doesn't mean you win the case. It means you have a new trial.
If you don't appeal or vacate: pay what you owe
If you don't appeal or ask to vacate, what you owe is due right away
Pay right away if you can. You will owe interest on any amount you don't pay.
If you pay the full amount, the other side must file an Acknowledgment of Satisfaction of Judgment (form SC-290). This is like a receipt of payment and lets the court know you paid the debt.
2. If they still won't file one, ask the court to enter one. You can file a written statement (a declaration) with the court stating that you paid. Attach any proof that you paid. Your court may have a form you can use for this. Check with a small claims clerk or your Small Claims Advisor.
If you don't pay the full amount
- You will owe interest on any amount you don't pay.
- The other side can ask to have the money come out of your pay or bank accounts, or they can take things you own after asking the court’s permission.
- The fact that there’s a judgment against you and that you owe money may show up on your credit report.
- If the case is about a car accident in California, the DMV can suspend your driver’s license.
You must tell the other side about what you earn and own
- Fill out and mail the other side a Judgment Debtor’s Statement of Assets (form SC-133).
This tells the other side what you earn and own that could be used to pay them. If you don't send this within 30 days, the other side could ask the court to make you pay a fine.
If you don't appeal, vacate, or pay after 30 days, the other side can start to try to collect money from you by asking for it to be taken out of your paycheck or bank account. There are things you can to to protect some or all of your money if they do try.
If you can't pay what you owe
Learn about ways the other side may try to collect the money and what you can do to protect some or all of your money
Appeal the decision
Learn how to appeal the judge's decision and get a new trial
Ask the judge to vacate the decision
Learn how to ask for the court to vacate (cancel) the judge's decision and get a new trial