CCP Section 664.6 and How to Enforce a Stipulated Judgment in California

Understanding legal judgments in California is important, particularly when it comes to enforcing a stipulated judgment. If you find yourself concerned with enforcing a judgment, this post will help. 

California Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) 664.6 is a key legal provision that allows courts in the state to enforce settlements or judgments that parties have agreed upon in writing. This article aims to clarify the process and provide a straightforward approach to judgment enforcement. As a premier collections attorney in Orange County, Stuart A. Katz brings extensive expertise to the field of judgment enforcement.

What is CCP Section 664.6?

CCP Section 664.6 is a legal provision allowing courts in California to enforce stipulated judgments or settlements that parties have agreed upon in writing. This statute is particularly beneficial in situations where one party fails to adhere to the agreed terms, offering a streamlined process for the other party to seek enforcement without initiating a new lawsuit.

The Importance of Stipulated Judgments

Stipulated judgments are a commonly used tool to secure a settlement in a collection action. The stipulated judgment is used to ensure that the debtor complies with the terms of settlement.  Should they breach their payment obligations, then the consequence is that a Stipulated Judgment will be entered.  The ability to enforce these agreements effectively is critical for creditors and underscores the value of consulting with a skilled debt collection attorney.

Preparing for Enforcement Under CCP Section 664.6

A settlement agreement that is entered into pursuant to CCP Section 664.6, allows the court to retain jurisdiction over the case so that the court can enforce the terms of the agreement which may include having a judgment entered due to the debtor’s breach of the settlement which typically means defaulting in making the agreed payments.  Depending upon how the settlement agreement is written, following a breach of an agreement made under Section 664.6, the creditor may have the right to simply enter a judgment or may need to file a motion to have the judgment entered.  A properly written agreement regarding the obligations of each party, any timelines or conditions for performance, and the consequences of a breach by the debtor are essential to protecting the rights of the creditor. A collections attorney can play a pivotal role in drafting such agreements, ensuring they meet all legal requirements for enforcement under CCP Section 664.6.

Common Challenges in Enforcing Stipulated Judgments

One of the common hurdles that may arise when an attorney who is not experienced in the collection process, prepares a settlement agreement which is to be enforced pursuant to CCP Section 664.6, is that there may be ambiguity in the language as far as what constitutes a breach of the agreement.  Accordingly, when a motion to enter judgment pursuant to the settlement is brought, the court may not enter the judgment due to a lack of clear evidence that the debtor’s actions constitute a breach of the agreement.  This often leads to disputes over the interpretation of the agreement’s terms. Legal guidance from a debt collection attorney is invaluable in these situations, as they can offer clarity and advocate on your behalf to ensure the terms are enforced as intended.

The Role of Evidence in Enforcement

Gathering and presenting compelling evidence may also be necessary in a motion to enforce a stipulated judgment. This includes the original agreement, any communication regarding the breach, and documentation showing the failure to comply with the terms. Detailed records and diligent preparation can significantly influence the court’s decision to enforce the judgment.

How to Enforce a Stipulated Judgment Under CCP Section 664.6

Enforcing a stipulated judgment in California involves these key steps:

  1. Ensure the Agreement is in Writing: For CCP Section 664.6 to apply, the stipulation must be in writing and signed by the parties involved. It’s advisable to have this document drafted or reviewed by a collection attorney to ensure all legal bases are covered.
  2. File a Motion with the Court: If a party fails to comply with the terms of the agreement, the other party can file a motion with the court under CCP Section 664.6. This motion requests the court to enforce the agreement as per its terms.
  3. Provide Evidence of the Agreement: Along with the motion, the party seeking enforcement must provide the court with evidence of the stipulated agreement and any breaches thereof.
  4. Court Hearing and Judgment: The court will then schedule a hearing to review the motion and the provided evidence. If the court finds the stipulation valid and breached, it can issue a judgment enforcing the agreement.

Why Seek a Collections Attorney?

Ensuring that a settlement entered into pursuant to CCP Section 664.6 is clear and in proper form so that a stipulated judgment can be entered in the event of a breach of a debtor’s obligations under the agreement is essential.  The best way to ensure that process is done correctly is to enlist the assistance of a collections attorney near me.  The client will benefit from localized knowledge and experience that can significantly enhance your chances of successful enforcement.

An attorney specializing in matters related to commercial debt collection can offer strategic advice on preparing and negotiating stipulated judgments, ensuring they are enforceable under CCP Section 664.6.

The enforcement of stipulated judgments under CCP Section 664.6 is a powerful mechanism, designed to uphold the integrity of agreements and ensure compliance. Keep in mind that the success in these endeavors often hinges on the quality of legal support and the strategies employed from the outset of any agreement. The Law Offices of Stuart A. Katz, P.C. are committed to providing legal assistance in commercial debt collection, ensuring that your agreements are not only enforceable but that you have the necessary support to see through their successful enforcement.