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If you lost the judgment on your case, that makes you the judgment debtor. The other party, who won the case, is now your creditor, meaning you owe them money. Paying your judgment promptly will minimize any interest that may accrue on the judgment (interest is extra money you will pay on top of the base judgment amount, and it may increase if you do not pay quickly).

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Here are the 3 ways you can pay your judgment:

  1. Pay directly to the creditor in a lump sum
  2. Pay directly to the court in a lump sum
  3. Pay in payments to the creditor

Pay to the creditor in a lump sum

If you choose to pay directly to the creditor, be sure you get proof of payment, like a receipt. Once you’ve paid the creditor, remind the creditor that they must fill out a “satisfaction of judgment” form to let the court know that the judgment has been satisfied. If there were any liens placed against your property, be sure to request that the creditor remove those liens as well.

We suggest that you double-check with the court that both have been satisfied 15 days after you pay the judgment. If the satisfaction of judgment has not been filed, you have two options:

  • Send a formal letter requesting the creditor to file the acknowledgment of satisfaction of judgment to the court or you will sue the creditor for damages plus $50.
  • Declare to the court that you have satisfied the judgment, and prove it with the receipt of the judgment payment.

Pay to court in a lump sum

You can choose to pay the judgment directly to the court instead of to the creditor, though this will require you to pay a court processing fee. The benefit of doing this is that you can get proof of payment directly from the court, and the court will indicate that your judgment has been satisfied. You must pay the principal amount of the judgment, as well as any costs and any interest accrued on the judgment.

Pay in payments to the creditor

If you are unable to pay the creditor or the court the whole amount at once and wish to make partial payments over time, you can arrange a payment plan directly with the creditor or request it with the court.

If you choose to set up a payment plan directly with the creditor, be sure to get all the details in writing, including (but not limited to): due dates, grace periods, interest, where to send payment, what form of payment, and who the payments should be made to. Be sure to keep a record of all the payments you make, in case disputes arise in the future.

You can also request a payment plan from the court. The benefit of doing this is that the interest will stop accruing until the entire judgment is paid off. You will need to file a request to make payments, and submit a form stating your financial situation. Once the form has been filed, the creditor has 10 days to respond. If they don’t respond in that time, then the request will be granted.

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The quest for justice is never easy, particularly when it comes to getting your money back. However, thanks to advances in technology, it has become easier. Quest for Justice’s first app, JusticeDirect, is the only app of its kind designed to support people without lawyers to resolve their disputes and get their money back, both in and out of court.

The first step to getting money back is through a letter demanding payment from the other party JusticeDirect offers customizable demand letters for free. If the letter demanding payment does not work, then the next step is taking them to court.

JusticeDirect* will guide users every step of the way through the small claims court process by helping them:

  1. Understand the legal process;
  2. Evaluate the pros and cons that come with taking someone to court;
  3. Generate small claims court forms; and,
  4. Avoid common mistakes when filing your forms and serving notice on the other side.

*Currently, JusticeDirect can only help litigants sue in California’s small claims court.

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