A judgment is an official entry entered on a court
's docket that signifies that a plaintiff has prevailed in his civil action against a defendant. The judgment will usually name the parties and the amount of damages awarded to the plaintiff. Once the court issues the judgment, the plaintiff is characterized as the judgment creditor and the defendant, the judgment debtor. California, like other states, has established a maximum period of time within which a judgment creditor can enforce his damages award against a judgment debtor.
Pursuant to §683.020 of the California Code of Civil Procedure, a judgment creditor has a maximum period of 10 years within which to enforce or collect on his judgment for damages against a judgment debtor. A judgment creditor can utilize various post-judgment collection procedures authorized by California law in order to obtain satisfaction for his monetary judgment. These include garnishing a debtor's wages, placing a lien on his real property or attaching his assets.
California Code of Civil Procedure §683.110-683.220 allows a judgment creditor to renew his judgment for a period of 10 years by filing an application for renewal in the court that issued the original judgment. Once the application for renewal is filed in court, the enforceability of the judgment is automatically extended for an additional 10-year period. The dollar amount of the renewal judgment will be adjusted by the court to reflect any payments remitted by a judgment debtor to the judgment creditor since the judgment was originally issued.
In accordance with §683.020 of the California Code of Civil Procedure, should a judgment creditor fail to properly renew his judgment, all post-judgment collection procedures previously authorized by a court must cease. Upon the expiration of the 10-year limitations period, any existing writs of garnishment, liens against real property or attachments against a judgment debtor's personal assets are extinguished.
So, if there was a civil judgment entered against the Defendant, you had to pursue collection of the judgment within 10 years of the entry of the judgment UNLESS you sought to renew the judgment BEFORE the time ran out.
HOWEVER, if the judgment was for RESTITUTION (and not a civil judgment) to the victim(s), then there is NO statute of limitations and the Defendant MUST pay. Even if the Defendant files for bankruptcy, restitution CANNOT be discharged.
In conclusion, if there was a civil judgment entered by the Court, then there is a 10 year statute of limitations UNLESS there was a Petition filed to renew the judgment for another 10 years. If the money was Court Ordered as restitution, the Defendant must pay it. There is NO statute of limitations.
You may wish to take your paperwork to an attorney who specializes in civil law. The attorney can look it over to determine whether the monies can still be collected.
I hope that you find this information useful.
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