Debt, Debt Collection, Repossessions, Garnishment Category: Courts and Procedure


An unpaid debt may lead to a collections lawsuit. Losing these lawsuits can lead to wage garnishment, bank levies, and liens on real property. A debtor can respond to the lawsuit in one of several ways. See our guide on “Responding to a Breach of Contract Lawsuit” for more information.


Abandonment of Homestead
Homestead Declaration – Spouses as Declared Owners
Exemption from the Enforcement of Judgments

This list includes the most common assets and income that may be exempt from levy upon a judgment. This means that state and federal laws prohibit judgment creditors from taking these types of property in order to satisfy their judgment. Exemptions are found in the United States Code (USC) and...

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Check your credit report free now once per week

Learn About It Until December 2023, you can access your free credit reports once per week instead of once per year. You have the right to check your credit reports for free once time per year under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. You can request your free reports from the three...

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Auto Repossession

What is Automobile Repossession? When you buy or lease a car on credit or get a loan, the person or business you owe the money to is called the “creditor.” Often, you will sign an agreement or contract giving the creditor the right to take back your automobile if you...

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Credit reports

What is a Credit Report? A credit report is a record of a person’s or company's past borrowing and repaying records. What Information is on my Credit Report? report summary; account name(s); credit bureau information; date account(s) opened; monthly payment(s); last reported date account(s) updated; account balance(s); account status; account...

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Fair Debt Collection Act

The Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (15 U.S.C. §§ 1692-1692p) and California’s Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (Civil Code §§ 1788 et seq.) protect consumers from abusive, unfair, or deceptive practices by debt collection agencies. These laws only apply to debt collection agencies, not to original creditors. Contacting...

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Am I Judgment Proof?

What does it mean to be “judgment proof?” “Judgment proof” is not a legal term, although we often receive requests for a legal definition of the phrase at the Law Library. In layman’s terms, a person is judgment proof when they have no collectable income or assets. In this case,...

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Traffic Court

General information Failure to pay Failure to pay as agreed will result in your account becoming delinquent. Collection enforcement includes, but is not limited to, garnishment of your wages, seizure of funds in your bank account(s), placement of a lien on any real property you own, the balance of your...

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Should I Answer?

Responding to a Breach of Contract Lawsuit Lee en español When a lawsuit is started against you, the Plaintiff will have you served with a Summons and Complaint. These documents formally notify you that a lawsuit has been initiated, and what the lawsuit is about. What are my options? You...

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SH@LL (Self Help @ the Law Library) (formerly Civil Self Help Center)
Accidents and Torts
SH@LL provides general information and basic assistance to people without attorneys on a variety of civil legal issues. All assistance is provided by telephone or Zoom videoconference. Visit “What We Help With” for a list of qualifying cases. Eligibility: Must be a Sacramento County resident or have a qualifying case in the Sacramento County Superior Court.
Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department Civil Bureau
Courts and Procedure
The Sheriff's Civil Bureau can serve civil process for documents such as summons and complaints, restraining orders, bench warrants, evictions and any other  court documents. The Civil Bureau also handles wage garnishments, bank levies and seizure of judgment debtor assets.
Capital Pro Bono Debt Collection Defense Clinic
Money Debt and Consumer Issues
By appointment only. Capital Pro Bono’s Debt Collection Defense Clinic can provide assistance with understanding and cleaning up credit reports, disputing debts and identity theft, and evaluating whether or not you should file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or answer debt collection lawsuits. Eligibility: Must be low income. Must have legal Immigration status
Community Legal Services Clinic (McGeorge)
Students at the McGeorge School of Law can serve low-income clients in the areas of Immigration, Bankruptcy, Elder & Health Law, and Homeless Advocacy.
Civil Self Help Services
Courts and Procedure
Civil Self-Help Services (SHS) helps people without lawyers who have questions about simple issues related to a civil case. They can give you general information and help you prepare your own forms in the area of civil law. Common topics include civil harassment restraining orders, petitions for change of name/gender, and expungement of criminal convictions.
Housing and Economic Rights Advocates (HERA)
Estates Wills and Trusts
Case consultations on housing, predatory and unfair lending, estate planning, foreclosure prevention, reentry, and credit. Eligibility: low to moderate income
Sacramento Justice League
Sacramento Justice League is a nonprofit corporation in Sacramento offering low cost legal services and occasional free clinics. Topics covered include:
  • Direct Family Law Legal Services
  • Name Changes/Birth Certificate Changes
  • Criminal Expungement Assistance
  • Credit and Debt Relief Assistance
  • Self-Represented Family Law Workshops
  • Domestic Violence Restraining Orders
  • Landlord/Tenant Issues
  • Bankruptcy
Responding to a Debt Collection Lawsuit (Answer-Contract)

Background When a lawsuit is started against you, you will be served with a Summons and Complaint. Ideally, these will be personally served (delivered to you in person). Service is valid even if you refuse to take them, as long as the server informs you that they are legal documents...

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Bank Levy

Background After you’ve won your lawsuit and received a judgment against the other party, your next step is to attempt to collect what you’re owed. The court does not collect your judgment for you– as the judgment creditor, this is your job. If the judgment debtor has a bank account,...

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Claim of Exemption – Bank Levy

Related Guides Claim of Exemption for Wage Garnishment Exemptions from Enforcement of Judgment Related Videos Enforcement of Judgments _______________ If judgment was by default: If you were unaware of the judgment until your bank account was frozen, you may be able to ask the court to set aside (vacate) the...

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Reclamo De Exención — Embargo de Banco (Claim of Exemption — Bank Levy)

Pedir a la corte para detener o reducir un Embargo de Banco Aviso de responsabilidad: Esta guía está basada sólo como información general. Su caso puede tener factores que requieren diferentes procedimientos o formularios. La información y las instrucciones se proporcionan para su uso en la Corte Superior del Condado...

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Wage Garnishment

Background After you win your lawsuit and receive a judgment against the other party, your next step is to attempt to collect what you are owed. The court does not collect your judgment for you; you must do it yourself. If the judgment debtor has a job, you may be...

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Claim of Exemption: Wage Garnishment

Background Wage garnishment is one of the primary ways creditors attempt to collect judgments. The creditor files papers in court to have a portion of your paycheck garnished (taken) to pay off your debt. A creditor can collect up to 25% of your income after mandatory deductions, unless part of your paycheck...

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Homestead Declaration: Protecting the Equity in Your Home

Related GuideExemption from the Enforcement of Judgement Background Under California law, homeowners are entitled to protection of a certain amount of equity in their home. The amount protected varies depending on the age, marital status, and income of the property owner. The homestead exemption does not prohibit the sale of...

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Motion to Pay Judgment in Installments: Requesting Installment Payments

Background California Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) § 582.5 allows a judgment debtor in a limited civil case (amount demanded is $25,000 or less) to ask the court for an order allowing the judgment to be paid in installments. This request is made by a formal noticed motion, and may...

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