If you have a valid judgment from another state, it is possible to have it recognized and enforced in California through a streamlined process known as domestication.
Domestication is the legal process of recognizing and enforcing an out-of-state judgment in California. It is governed by California Code of Civil Procedure Section 1710.10 et seq. Under this law, a party seeking to enforce an out-of-state judgment files an application in the California court where the judgment debtor resides or where the debtor’s assets are located.
To begin the process, the petitioner must provide the California court with an authenticated copy of the out-of-state judgment, as well as proof that the judgment is final, enforceable, and not subject to appeal. The petitioner must also make a sworn statement stating that the judgment has not been satisfied and that the petitioner is not aware of any pending appeal or stay of enforcement.
This process is fairly straightforward and far less time-consuming than commencing a new civil action. In most cases, the domestication process takes less than 60 days. The petitioner must pay a fee to file the domestication application, and additional costs are generally incurred to properly serve the application on the judgment debtor. In rare cases, the judgment debtor may challenge enforcement of the out-of-state judgment.
Once the out-of-state judgment has been properly domesticated in a California court, the petitioner may proceed to enforce this judgment in the same manner as any California civil judgment. This may include garnishing wages or bank accounts, placing liens on property, or seizing assets.
Domesticating an out-of-state judgment in California requires a petitioner to follow certain procedural steps, and there a certain types of out-of-state judgments that cannot be domesticated, however, the process is generally far less time-consuming than commencing a new action on the same claim that was originally pursued in the sister-state.
If you are considering enforcing an out-of-state judgment in California, it is important to consult with an experienced attorney to ensure that your rights are protected and that all legal procedures are properly followed.