Paying Your Judgment
How to pay your judgment and update your credit report.
Paying Your Judgment
If you lost in court, the money you owe is called the judgment. You are called the Judgment Debtor. The person you owe money to is called the Judgment Creditor. Judgments appear on your credit report, so be sure to update your report after you pay.
There are three ways to pay a judgment:
- Pay directly to the court.
- Pay directly to the person you owe.
- Arrange to make monthly payments.
Pay the court
To pay your judgment directly to the court, take these steps:
- Get the form called Request to Pay Judgment to Court.
- Fill out the form. The court will calculate the total amount you need to pay, including interest and any additional costs.
- File the form with the court clerk at the courthouse where your case was heard.
- Pay the filing fee and the full amount of the judgment to the court.
The clerk will enter a Satisfaction of Judgment in the court record. This means you have paid your judgment. The clerk’s office will also notify the Judgment Creditor that you have paid. Remember to update your credit report.
Pay directly to the creditor
Mail or deliver a check or money order to the Judgment Creditor. Make sure to keep proof of payment, such as your canceled check. Once the Judgment Creditor receives your payment, ask them to file the form Acknowledgment of Satisfaction of Judgment with the court within 14 days. This form tells the court that you have paid the judgment.
What if the Judgment Creditor does not submit a Satisfaction of Judgment?
I have proof I paid
If the Judgment Creditor does not file this form, and you have proof of payment, get the form called Declaration of Judgment Debtor Regarding Satisfaction of Judgment. This form is only available at the court clerk’s office. Fill out the form, attach your proof of payment and file it with the court. The clerk will enter a Satisfaction of Judgment in your court record. Remember to update your credit report.
I don’t have proof I paid
If the Judgment Creditor does not file the Acknowledgment of Satisfaction of Judgment form and you do not have proof of payment, take these steps:
- Send a letter to the Judgment Creditor by certified mail return receipt requested. In the letter, tell him the law requires that he file a Satisfaction of Judgment within 14 days of receiving payment. If he doesn’t, you can sue him for $50 plus damages.
- Fill out the form Request for Court Order and Answer. State that you want to have the court “Enter Satisfaction of Judgment”.
- File it with the clerk.
The clerk’s office may schedule a hearing date and notify all parties. If the court is convinced that you have paid, the court will enter the Satisfaction of Judgment. Remember to update your credit report.
Pay in installments
To set up a payment plan, take these steps:
- Fill out the forms Request to Pay Judgment in Installments and Financial Statement.
- File the forms at the clerk’s office. There is no filing fee.
The Clerk will mail copies of the request to the Judgment Creditor. If the Judgment Creditor objects to your payment plan, a hearing may be scheduled. The judge will consider a payment plan based on the information received from both you and the Judgment Creditor. Once you pay the judgment in full, be sure the Judgment Creditor files the Satisfaction of Judgment so you can update your credit report.
If you miss a payment, the entire amount is due and the Judgment Creditor can take action to collect from you.
Updating your credit report
To update your credit report and show the debt as paid, do the following:
- Get three certified copies of the Acknowledgment of Satisfaction of Judgment from the clerk’s office.
- Pay the fee.
- Mail a certified copy to each of the three major credit-reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
Court forms are available at California Courts – Forms. Select “Small Claims” from the pull-down menu. Forms are also available at the Court Clerk’s office.
County of Los Angeles Department of Consumer and Business Affairs. Last change: May 19, 2015.