Collect your money

If the judge ordered the other side to pay you, the other side has 30 days to challenge the judge's decision. If they don't, they are supposed to pay you right away.

If they don't pay you right away, they must send you information about what they own, where they work, and where they bank. You can use this information to try to collect the money. The court doesn't collect the money for you.

Next steps

Wait 30 days to collect your money

You must wait at least 30 days after you were handed or mailed the Notice of Entry of Judgment to collect your money (if the other side doesn’t pay you on their own).

The 30-day wait is so the other side can appeal (ask for a new trial) or ask the court to cancel (vacate) the judge's decision if they didn't come to the court date. If they don’t do either of those things, you can start the collection process.

If the other side pays you, you must let the court know

If the other side pays you, you need to fill out and file an Acknowledgment of Satisfaction of Judgment (form SC-290) with the court.

The other side can pay the money directly to the court and not to you. They do this by filing a Request to Pay Judgment to Court (form SC-145). If this happens, the court will mail you a notice to let you know how to claim the money.

If the other side doesn't pay

If the other side doesn't pay you, you will need to collect the money

If the other side doesn't appeal, ask to cancel, or pay you, within 30 days they need to send you a: 

  • Judgment Debtor's Statement of Assets (Small Claims) (form SC-133)

This form tells you what they own, where they work, and where they bank, so you know where to collect your money.

You can ask for a court date where the other person must show up and answer questions about what they earn and own. This is called a debtor's exam. Learn how to get a debtor's exam.

If the other side won't pay you, the court won't collect it for you

There are things you can do to try to collect the money. You are the one who will go through the steps to collect the money.

Collecting money can take a lot of time and money and you may not even collect any of it. It’s best to try to get the other side to pay you voluntarily, even if it means giving them a “deal” for paying you quickly or in a lump sum.

The next section offers information on basic steps you can take, but you may want to hire a lawyer to help you with this. 

How to collect

The other side might ask for a payment plan

It’s not the law, but if the other side can’t pay you right away you may want to accept a payment plan from them. If you agree, put the agreement in writing and both sign the agreement.

If you don't agree, the other side may ask a judge to order a payment plan.

  • If they do, you will get the request in the mail and have 10 days to say if you agree or not
  • You can let the court know what you think by filing a Response to Request to Make Payments (form SC-221)
  • Then, a judge will decide

Read more about the process in Payment in Small Claims (form SC-220-INFO).

Small claims collection

What's next?

If the other side doesn't pay you right away, you will need to try to collect the money from them.

success alert banner:

Have a question about Small claims?

Look for a "Chat Now" button in the right bottom corner of your screen. If you don’t see it, disable any pop-up/ad blockers on your browser.