Sister State Judgment
Debt Collection Attorneys

What is a Sister-
State Judgment?

A Sister State Judgment is a Judgment entered in a court that is outside of California. Out-of-State Judgments can be enforced under the California version of the Uniform Enforcement of Sister State Judgments Act.

Map of the USA - Sister State Judgement Collection Graphic
Gavel Sitting on the Table of a Commercial Collection Attorney

Already Have a Judgment that Needs Collection?

If you already have a court-issued Judgment from another State that hasn’t been collected and the Debtor or the Debtor’s assets are in California, we know how to enforce that Judgment and get your money. Our law firm uses all the legal remedies the law allows to collect your money. We move fast and aggressively. The procedure to enforce a Sister State Judgment is quick and easy. You don’t have to re-prove your case. We file an “authenticated” copy of the Sister State Judgment with the California court, serve a notice, and 30 days later we can start efforts at enforcement.

Greenbaum Law Group Are Experts in the Debt Collection Process

We effectively service clients who have cases between $10,000 and $2,000,000. We are a quality law firm, not a collection agency or a mill operation. We Sue! We don’t send whiny letters and don’t usually even contact the debtors before we start the lawsuit unless required by law. We don’t make repetitive phone calls and have no phone collectors.

Collection lawyer talking to client
Collection lawyer handing out folder to client

Case Documentation

Cases involving a Sister-State Judgment have some form of written documentation. This can include the judgment itself or other proof of the judgment. These are the documents that we present for settlement to the court, that win your case. We have a full staff of qualified and experienced Lawyers and Legal Assistants who will use all the legal remedies the law allows to collect your money. We move fast and aggressively.

What Paperwork is Required for the Acknowledgment or Domestication of a Sister-State Ruling?

According to California legislation, the Application for Entry of a Sister State Judgment necessitates an attachment of a “properly authenticated copy” of your Sister State Judgment. A “properly authenticated copy” extends beyond a mere “certified copy”. Various states may refer to it as either “Authenticated” or “Exemplified”. Regardless of the terminology, this authenticated copy can be obtained from the originating court and will include certifications from both the Clerk and the Judge of the Sister State Court.

Greenbaum Law Group Fees

We offer a choice between contingent fees (a percentage) or hourly fees (charged by the hour). See our FAQ page on which is right for you and how to make the choice. We recover more money, more often than other attorneys or collectors. If you are a contingent fee client and we don’t recover, there is no fee. The out-of-pocket filing fees for the court enforcement documents, motions, hearings, and liens and the fee for the process servers are generally small.

See Our FAQ Page Concerning Costs

See Our Fee Information

See Our Fee Agreements



Gavel Sitting Over Money - Debt Collection Attorney Image

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Difference Between a Sister State Judgment and a Domestic California judgment?

A Sister State Judgment is a Judgment entered in another state that is domesticated (entered) in California. There is a process to accomplish this but once entered, both are equally enforceable.

How Long Does it Generally Take to Enter a Sister State Judgment in California?

A properly certified and authenticated Sister State Judgment is entered immediately upon filing in California but doesn’t become enforceable until 30-40 days after it is served on the Judgment Debtor. During that time the Judgment Debtor can object but the grounds are extremely limited. The creditor doesn’t have to re-litigate the underlying facts. The objections are more formalities like proving the judgment on file is authentic, not obtained by fraud and there was adequate service.

How Long Does it Generally Take to Start Enforcement of a Sister State Judgment in California?

Enforcement can begin as early as 30-40 days after the Sister State Judgment is served on the judgment debtor unless the debtor files objections.

What if the Debtor Files Objections to the Enforcement of the Sister State Judgment?

The objection is a motion or request to the court to review the formalities of the Sister State Judgment. The courts motion or review process depends on the particular courts calendar or docketing schedule. It varies by courthouse and courtroom. It is usually between 30 days at the low end and 4 months on the high end.

Can a Sister State Judgment Be Enforced if the Debtor Has Relocated to Another State?

Enforcement either way is dependent on assets, operations, income or income stream in California. If the debtor has moved but still has assets, accounts, accounts receivables, properties or businesses in California, the debtors presence is not determinative.

Are There Any Limitations on the Types of Judgments That Can Be Enforced?

Yes but this is technical. Enforcement of a money judgment is generally quite easy whereas enforcement of things like injunctions, real property ownership disputes and contempt are much harder.

How Long Is a Sister State Judgment Valid for Enforcement Purposes in California?

A Sister State Judgment, when entered in California, becomes a California Judgment. California Judgments are valid for 10 years and may be renewed in the 9th year for an additional 10 years.

What Assets Can Be Targeted During the Enforcement of a Sister State Judgment?

Creditors in Judgment enforcement pick the possible assets they feel are most likely to get them paid. While bank accounts are easy, getting foreclosure on a homestead is hard and expensive. A collection strategy and plan is developed by the client and the attorney that is likely to be most effective.

Can a Sister State Judgment Be Enforced Against a Debtor’s Business or Corporate Assets?

A judgment is enforced against the debtor’s assets. If those include a wholly owned business (like a dba or sole proprietorship), the judgment is enforceable. If the asset is stock in a corporation, the court can order the stock transferred to the creditor. Then it becomes a question as to whether the stock has value. If there are many shareholders, perhaps others will buy them. Partnerships and LLCs are more problematic and the court must be asked for a “charging order”

What Happens if the Debtor Declares Bankruptcy During the Enforcement Process?

Bankruptcy, regardless in which state, operates as a “stay” of enforcement of any judgment until the judgment is administered in the bankruptcy court. Some judgments are negated or avoided. Some judgments, relative few, can be held as “non-dischargeable” in bankruptcy. This determination is made in the bankruptcy court.

How Does the Choice Between Contingent Fees and Hourly Fees Impact the Collection Process?

Contingent fees place the risk of low or no collection on the lawyer. If fully successful the lawyer gets a percentage that can be large. If partially successful the lawyer gets a percentage that might be minimal. While the percentage doesn’t change, the amount of recovery reflects the risk. In the worst case for both, nothing is recovered and neither the creditor or the lawyer get any money.

On the other hand, hourly fees are not success based. If there is strong reason to believe recovery will be rapid and big, hourly fees shift the risk. A lawyer on hourly fees may bill a smaller fee than the contingent fee if successful. However if not successful, the creditor might be paying high fees for little or no recovery. It’s a gamble.

Our Practice areas



If you are owed over $10,000 for a commercial debt, note, sale of goods or services, loan or because you gave someone credit.



If you loaned money or sold goods or services on credit and didn’t get paid, you have a good case for recovery



If you sold your time or products and didn’t get paid, we will pursue rapid collection for you.



If your debt is related to a construction project, other remedies, liens and security can often be pursued.



Do you already have a California Judgment you haven’t collected? We are specialists in judgment enforcement techniques such as



If you have a Court Judgment or Order from a State other than California, it can be enforced against a California Debtor or property



Judgments issued in Foreign Countries against California Debtors or those with property in California can be collected by



If you have an award from an Arbitration that isn’t being paid, we can convert it to a judgment and pursue collection

Take action now… give us a call or submit an inquiry online