Judgment Debtor Exam Stipulations

August 13, 2023

Judgment recovery attempts sometimes require creditors to properly schedule judgment debtor examinations (possibly also with subpoenaed document requests) and have them personally served on their judgment debtor. Sometime after the judgment debtor is served, the debtor or their lawyer, may ask the creditor to sign a stipulation agreement; requesting them to agree to move the original judgment debtor examination date to later future date.

This article is my opinion, and not legal advice. I am a judgment expert, and am not a lawyer. If you ever need any legal advice or a strategy to use, please contact a lawyer.

The contents of a signed stipulation agreement between a judgment debtor or their attorney, and the judgment creditor; to move the date of a scheduled judgment debtor examination; should include a description of any previously subpoenaed documents, and also comply with the local court’s rules.

By including specific wordings in your date stipulation agreements, you can both increase the chance that your debtor will show up on the new stipulated date; and they will be reminded that if they do not appear on the date of their stipulated continued hearing, a bench warrant may be issued against them. Even if not court required, it might be a good idea to include wordings similar to the six points below, in stipulation agreements to move the date of a judgment debtor examination:

1) On December 21, 2012, this court ordered DAN DEBTOR to personally appear before this court, to furnish information to aid in the enforcement of the money judgment entered against him in case # 123456.

2) DAN DEBTOR was personally served with the court order to appear, including a civil Subpoena Duces Tecum, ordering the personal appearance and the production of documents; by a registered process server on January 3, 2013, at 10:59 AM., at his home at ADDRESS, CITY, STATE, ZIP.

3) The original court order and subpoena commanded DAN DEBTOR to appear with the subpoenaed documents on January 20, 2013, at 9 AM, in Department # A, of the Superior Court of California located at (the court’s address).

4) DAN DEBTOR now seeks a new stipulation order from this court, continuing and moving the existing January 20, 2013 examination to a later date. DAN DEBTOR and CARL CREDITOR both agree to the new proposed date of February 12, 2013, at 9 AM, in Department A, of the Superior Court of California located at (the court’s address).

5) By his signature below, DAN DEBTOR indicates his understanding that if he fails to appear in court on February 12, 2013, at 9 AM in Department A (at the court’s address); that he may be subject to possible arrest and punishment for contempt of court, and potentially may be subject to other costs. In California, CCP 708.110(e) applies.

6) By his signature below, DAN DEBTOR indicates his understanding that the civil subpoena Duces Tecum previously served upon him is still in effect, and that disobedience of that subpoena may be punished as a contempt of the court. (In California, there is CCP 1992).

Proposed date change stipulation agreements should be signed and dated by both the judgment debtor and the creditor. What happens if the debtor later does not show up on their own stipulated examination date? Stipulation orders that include wordings similar to the above, along with a copy of the original proof of service; may help a judge decide that a civil bench warrant should then be issued. In California, this is covered by CCPs 1991, 1209, and 1211.

What happens after you pay for a civil bench warrant, depends on the state and county. In some places, Sheriffs might pick up judgment debtors for civil bench warrants. In many places, Sheriffs do not pick up judgment debtors, however if they are stopped, they will usually be cited and perhaps even spend a few hours in jail.

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