Motion to Amend a Judgment in California

Filing a motion to amend the terms and conditions for payment of a judgment in California to allow for monthly installment payments is the topic of this blog post. The motion is made pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure § 582.5.  This code section only applies to limited civil judgments, where the principal amount of the lawsuit did not exceed $25,000.00, not including accrued interest, attorney’s fees and Court costs.

Code of Civil Procedure § 582.5 states that, ” In a limited civil case in which the defendant has appeared, if the judgment or order is for the payment of money by the defendant, the defendant shall pay the judgment immediately or at any time and upon terms and conditions, including installment payments, that the court may prescribe. The court may amend the terms and conditions for payment of the judgment or order at any time to provide for installment payments for good cause upon motion by a party and notice to all affected parties, regardless of the nature of the underlying debt and regardless of whether the moving party appeared before entry of the judgment or order. In any determination regarding the imposition of terms and conditions upon the payment of the judgment, the court shall consider any factors that would be relevant to the determination of a claim for exemption pursuant to Chapter 4 (commencing with Section 703.010) of Division 2 of Title 9 of Part 2 or the examination of a debtor pursuant to Article 2 (commencing with Section 708.110) of Chapter 6 of Division 2 of Title 9.”

This means that a defendant who has had a limited civil judgment entered against them has the right to file a motion with the Court to request that the Court amend the judgment to allow them to pay the judgment in installment payments. And it does not matter what the nature of the underlying debt is, or whether the defendant answered the lawsuit or not.

This is very advantageous to a defendant considering the current state of the economy as the Court must consider any factors that relate to a claim for exemption. As there are numerous exemptions most defendants should be able to successfully amend a limited civil judgment and obtain a monthly payment amount that they can live with. It should also be stressed that the exemption statutes are liberally construed in favor of the claimant. See Independence Bank v. Heller (1969) 275 CA2d 84, 88. This means that a Judge is supposed to give the person claiming the exemption the benefit of the doubt.

Additionally, once the Court amends the judgment to allow for installment payments, as long as the defendant makes their monthly payments on time the plaintiff cannot levy on their bank account, garnish their wages, or take any other action without obtaining permission of the Court.

Attorneys or parties in the State of California who wish to view a portion of  a sample motion to amend the terms and conditions for payment of a limited civil judgment for sale by the author please see below.

The author of this article, Stan Burman, is a freelance paralegal who has worked in California and Federal litigation since 1995. If you are in need of assistance with any California or Federal litigation matters, Mr. Burman is available on a freelance basis. Mr. Burman may be contacted by e-mail at DivParalgl@yahoo.com for more information. He accepts payments through PayPal which means that you can pay using most credit or debit cards.

Subscribe to his weekly newsletter with legal tips and tricks for California.  http://www.legaldocspro.net/newsletter.htm

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