Pay Your Judgment

Try our new step-by-step format!

We're improving online instructions for Small Claims!

Give it a try!

If you lose a small claims case and are ordered to pay money to the winning side, you become a judgment debtor. The court will not collect the money for your creditor (the person you owe money to), but if you do not pay voluntarily, the creditor can use different enforcement tools to get you to pay the judgment.

You have 30 days after entry of the original judgment before you have to pay the creditor.

During this time, you can:

Once the 30 days have passed and there is no appeal or stay (suspension or postponement) for some other reason, the creditor can start collecting the judgment against you. Read Ways to Collect From the Debtor  to see what collection tools the creditor can use. Click if you do not pay the judgment to see what you can do if the creditor tries to collect.

Keep in mind that if you do not pay the judgment:

  • The amount you owe will increase daily, since the judgment accumulates interest at the rate of 10 percent per year.
  • The creditor can get an order telling you to reimburse him or her for any reasonable and necessary costs of collection.
  • Your credit may be damaged because credit reporting agencies will know you have not paid the judgment when your name appears on the court's "Judgment Roll." This can make it difficult for you to get a loan, get a credit card, or even rent an apartment.