After your trial: appeal or pay

You have 30 days from when you were handed or mailed the Notice of Entry of Judgment (forms SC-130 or SC-200) to decide what you want to do.

Your options

After you receive the Notice of Entry of Judgment (forms SC-130 or SC-200) you can:

  • 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.

How to appeal

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.

How to vacate


If the other side didn't serve you the Plaintiff's Claim and Order to Go to Small Claims Court (form SC-100) the right way or never served you at all, then you have 180 days from when you found out or should have found out about the judgment to file a request to cancel the judgment.

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. 

Yes. You can ask to pay the court directly by filing a Request to Pay Judgment to Court (form SC-145). The court will then send the money to the other side. The court charges a fee, usually $25.00, to process the payment and send it to the other side.


If you can't pay all the money right now and the other side won't accept payments, you can ask the judge to let you make payments


1. Send the other side a letter by certified mail with return receipt requested. In the letter, ask them to file an Acknowledgment of Satisfaction of Judgment right away. Let them know if they don't file it within 14 days of being paid, you can sue them for $50 plus any damage this caused.
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.

Small claims

What's next?

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.

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