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Confessing judgment in California

Confessing judgment in California is the topic of this blog post. The statutes that authorize the confessing of judgment in California are Code of Civil Procedure sections 1132 through 1134. This procedure may only be used when no action has been commenced in court on the debt or obligation.

Obtaining judgment by confession is particularly useful in situations where no legal action has been filed and both parties agree that a sum of money is due from one party to the other and neither party wants to go through the time and expense of legal action.

However there are some strict requirements that must be met in order to utilize the confession of judgment procedure which are discussed.

The first requirement is that the defendant must sign a verified statement with detailed facts declaring that they agree to have judgment entered against them on an obligation due either for money due or to become due, or to secure any person against contingent liability on behalf of the defendant, or both, in the manner prescribed by this chapter. See Code of Civil Procedure section 1133.

The second requirement is that an attorney independently representing the defendant signs a declaration that the attorney has examined the proposed judgment and has advised the defendant with respect to the waiver of rights and defenses under the confession of judgment procedure and has advised the defendant to utilize the confession of judgment procedure. The certificate shall be filed with the filing of the statement. See Code of Civil Procedure section 1132(b).

Once the first two requirements are met, the verified statement and the attorney’s declaration must be filed with the Court along with a proposed Judgment along with the filing fee which is currently $30.00.

A defendant must have voluntarily, knowingly, and intelligently waived the due-process rights of notice and an opportunity to be heard before a court can enter a judgment by confession. See Isbell v. County of Sonoma (1978) 21 C3d 61, 64. Accordingly, courts strictly construe the statutes authorizing judgments by confession. See Efstratis v. First N. Bank (1997) 59 CA4th 667, 672.

Given the current backlog in the California courts and the expense and delay involved in going to trial, a confession of judgment is clearly an efficient and appropriate method in appropriate situations.

Delay hurts only the creditor who is seeking payment and works only to the benefit of other creditors who may obtain a judgment against the defendant.

The only other options for the creditor are to file a complaint, after which it can take months or longer to reach judgment, whether by stipulation or by trial.  The cost and delay of discovery and trial is eliminated in full.

Because collection efforts are often a race for finite funds in which numerous other creditors are seeking to attach the same assets, having a confession of judgment is an extremely valuable tool.

Other creditors may find themselves six months to two years away from a judgment that someone holding a confession can have entered in a month or so. That allows writs of execution to be available long before other creditors even finish discovery.

A confession of judgment is also an excellent way to determine if the promises of the debtor to pay are truthful or not. If a debtor truly plans to abide by the payment plan proposed, he or she should have no problem agreeing to a confession of judgment. If all payments are made, it is never filed, never made public, and there is no harm to the debtor at all.

Debtors will often raise the issue of the cost of obtaining independent counsel as their reason for not signing a confession of judgment. However the fact is that there are some attorneys out there who will sign off for approximately five hundred dollars if the debtor will just check around. The cost of even filing an answer with the Court will cost more than that.

Attorneys or parties in California who would like to view a portion of a sample 7 page confession of judgment that includes brief instructions, a verified statement of defendant confessing judgment, an attorney’s declaration in support of verified statement confessing judgment, and an order of judgment on confession of judgment sold by the author can see below.

The author of this blog post, Stan Burman, is an entrepreneur and freelance paralegal who has worked in California and Federal litigation since 1995 and has created over 300 sample legal documents for California and Federal litigation.

You can view portions of over 300 sample legal documents for California and Federal litigation at View over 300 sample legal documents for sale

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Follow the author on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/LegalDocsPro


Please note that the author of this blog post, Stan Burman is NOT an attorney and as such is unable to provide any specific legal advice. The author is NOT engaged in providing any legal, financial, or other professional services, and any information contained in this blog post is NOT intended to constitute legal advice.

The materials and information contained in this blog post have been prepared by Stan Burman for informational purposes only and are not legal advice. Transmission of the information contained in this blog post is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, any business relationship between the author and any readers. Readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.



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