How to Prepare an Abstract of Judgment in California
Disclaimer: This guide is intended as general information only. Your case may have factors requiring different procedures or forms. If you need further assistance, consult a lawyer.
This packet includes:
- Step by Step Instructions
- Sample Abstract of Judgment, Civil and Small Claims (Judicial Council Form EJ-001)
Click here to download a pdf version of this guide.
This guide is intended to provide a simple description of how to prepare an Abstract of Judgment, Civil and Small Claims (Form EJ-001) in Sacramento County Superior Court. Please keep in mind that each court has different requirements. If you believe a judgment debtor owns property in more than one county, you will have to record your abstract in each county. Only one Abstract of Judgment, Civil and Small Claims (Form EJ-001) needs to be recorded per county, however, even if there are multiple properties within a single county.
Preparing an Abstract of Judgment, Civil and Small Claims (Form EJ-001) is the first step a judgment creditor must take in order to place a lien on a judgment debtor's real property or a judgment debtor's potential recovery in a pending lawsuit. Placing a lien gives a creditor the right to be paid from the proceeds of a sale of the debtor's real property or from the debtor's monetary award in another lawsuit. For information on how to foreclose upon a judgment debtor's real property or place a lien on a lawsuit the debtor has against someone else, visit the California Courts' Self-Help Website at http://www.courts.ca.gov/11190.htm.
Once you have completed the Abstract of Judgment, Civil and Small Claims (Form EJ-001), you must take the form to the Superior Court that issued the judgment, so that the court clerk can certify the document. You will then need to take the certified Abstract of Judgment, Civil and Small Claims (Form EJ-001) to the County Recorder's office, which will record the document. After recording, you have a lien against the property.
STEP 1: COMPLETE YOUR FORM
You will need to fill out an Abstract of Judgment, Civil and Small Claims (Form EJ-001). Instructions are included at the end of this guide.
STEP 2: COPYING AND ASSEMBLING
Make four copies of your completed Abstract of Judgment, Civil and Small Claims (Form EJ-001). Staple each of the copies, but leave the original unstapled. Sacramento County Superior Court uses an electronic filing system in which documents are scanned in electronically. Stapled originals are not accepted because the staple will jam in the scanner, damaging both the document and the scanner. In courts that do not electronically scan, all are stapled, and the original is two-hole punched at the top of the page for insertion into a folder.
STEP 3: FILE YOUR FORM
You may file your completed Abstract of Judgment, Civil and Small Claims (Form EJ-001) by mail or in person at the Gordon D. Schaber Sacramento County Courthouse, located at 720 Ninth Street, Sacramento, CA 95814. If you file by mail, you must include a check to cover the filing fee (currently $25, see the current fee schedule at http://www.saccourt.ca.gov/fees/docs/fee-schedule.pdf) as well as an envelope addressed to yourself with sufficient postage so that the court can return the certified Abstract of Judgment to you. The clerk will certify the abstract of judgment and return the original to you with the court's seal on it.
STEP 4: RECORD THE ABSTRACT OF JUDGMENT
Take the original certified Abstract of Judgment, Civil and Small Claims (Form EJ-001) and at least three (3) copies to the Sacramento County Recorder's Office, located at 600 8th Street, Sacramento, CA 95814. The current fee is approximately $31 (see current fees at http://www.ccr.saccounty.net/Pages/Fees.aspx). If you are recording in another county, please be sure to check with that county's Recorder's Office to determine the correct location for recording and the recording fee. You can find contact information for all California Recorders Offices here: http://www.cdph.ca.gov/certlic/birthdeathmar/pages/countyrecorderoffice.aspx.
STEP 5: WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
The county recorder will provide notice to the debtor that you have recorded the Abstract of Judgment. You will not be paid automatically, but if the debtor refinances or sells the property, you may get paid your money with interest.
IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS GUIDE, OR IF YOU NEED HELP FINDING OR USING THE MATERIALS LISTED, DON'T HESITATE TO ASK A REFERENCE LIBRARIAN
created AB 9/2011
revised 1/13 mpj