Many times someone attempting to collect a California judgment will be unable to collect as they cannot locate any assets such as a bank account or car that may be seized to satisfy the judgment. Or the judgment debtor may be self-employed making a wage garnishment impossible. These types of situations are where an assignment helper order can allow someone to collect on a judgment that would otherwise be uncollectible. Many persons working in the judgment recovery field will testify to the effectiveness of an assignment order.
Code of Civil Procedure Section 708.510 authorizes a Court to issue an order directing the Judgment Debtor to assign to a Judgment Creditor, all or part of a right to payment due, or to become due, including: Wages due from the federal government that are not subject to withholding under an earnings withholding order; Other payments such as rents, commissions, royalties, payments due from a patent or copyright, insurance policy loan value, accounts receivable, general intangibles, judgments and instruments.
Although the Court may take into consideration all relevant factors, the sole constraints placed on the Court are that the right to payment be assigned only to the extent necessary to satisfy the creditor’s money judgment and that, where part of the payments are exempt, the amount of the payments assigned should not exceed the difference between the gross amount of the payments and the exempt amount.
Note that a California Court of Appeal has ruled that just because a right to payment has been ordered assigned under Code of Civil Procedure Section 708.510, that does not preclude a challenge to whether the claims were assignable ab initio; the Legislature specifically noted that Section 708.510 does not make any property assignable that is not already assignable. In that case the Court ruled that a right to receive payment from a malpractice suit could not be assigned.
Code of Civil Procedure Section 708.520 authorizes the Court to restrain the Judgment Debtor from assigning or otherwise disposing of the right to payment sought to be assigned upon a showing of need. This is important as otherwise the Judgment Debtor may assign the right to payment to someone else or otherwise attempt to evade collection efforts.
Please note that the author of this article, 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 article is NOT intended to constitute legal advice.
These materials and information contained in this article have been prepared by Stan Burman for informational purposes only and are not legal advice. Transmission of the information contained in this article is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, any business relationship between the sender and receiver. Any readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.