Collecting on a Restitution Award in a Restraining Order Case

Asked 10 months ago - Los Angeles, CA

At a hearing on 8/11, I was awarded a 6-month restraining order against the defendant, who was also ordered to pay $384 in property damages and $3,000 in attorney fees by 11/11/2013. The defendant did not pay, but instead left the state of California. There is a separate warrant for his arrest in CA on misdemeanor charges, which I expect him to try to clear up in the next few months. The above-referenced attorney is not involved with the collection efforts on the monetary award; (a) what is my next move to try and collect, (b) what steps can I take to improve the odds of collection, and (c) what kind of trouble can the defendant get in here in CA for not paying, or in NV where he is under a sentence requiring that he "stay out of trouble."

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Christine James

    Pro

    Contributor Level 19

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Contact a collection attorney or collection company. It is impossible to say what your odds of collecting are. It doesn't sound like he has a lot of money to collect. As far as what kind of trouble he can get into, there is no telling on that either. It sounds like he is constantly in trouble in one form or another so it will all catch up with him eventually - to what extent it is hard to say. It sounds like you should be happy he is gone. Good luck to you.

  2. Alan Ray Barnes

    Contributor Level 18

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . Generally speaking, it's hard to collect money on a judgment against somebody who doesn't have substantial assets. And since most judgments are dischargeable in bankruptcy, you could spend a fair amount of time and money trying to collect and end up with nothing.

    If you really want to collect, the next step is probably a judgment debtor examination. A judgment creditor can obtain an order requiring the judgment debtor to appear for an examination regarding assets that can be used to satisfy the judgment. If the judgment debtor fails to appear, the judge may issue a warrant for his arrest.

    But obtaining such an order requires that the judgment creditor personally serve the judgment debtor with notice. This likely means hiring a process server in the state where he now lives. Before you decide whether to start throwing good money after bad, you may want to consult with a collection attorney.

  3. Kevin Albert Adams

    Contributor Level 6

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . It sounds like you should contact a collections attorney. Most work off of a contingency fee - thus, if the can't collect, you are not out of pocket any of the costs associated with the collection efforts. However, without any substantial assets, trying to collect will be an uphill battle that most attorneys will not want to take on. Good luck.

  4. Matthew Mackenzie Clarke

    Contributor Level 8

    Answered . This is a difficult situation since he left the state. You would have to register your restitution award in NV to collect it there. Once registered NV, you can do the debtor's exam which another lawyer described. These steps are not easy so the suggestion that you find a collection attorney or agency is very valid.

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