Judgment Enforcement Time Period

Superior court judgments are generally enforceable immediately upon entry. [See Ca Civ Pro -- 683.010] However, if the debtor files a timely appeal from the judgment, enforcement may be stayed pending appeal under the provisions of Ca Civ Pro - 916 et seq. Notably, money judgments are stayed on appeal only by posting a bond. [Ca Civ Pro - 917.1]

Unless the judgment is timely renewed as provided below or an independent action on the judgment is timely filed, a money judgment or judgment for possession or sale may not be enforced after 10 years from the date of its entry (or 10 years from the date each installment comes due on an installment judgment). Upon expiration of the 10-year period, all enforcement procedures must cease; any liens based upon the judgment are automatically extinguished. [Ca Civ Pro -- 683.020 (and Comment thereto), 683.030]

An enforceable judgment may be renewed. Compliance with renewal statutes automatically renews the judgment for a period of 10 years from the date the application to renew is filed. [Ca Civ Pro -- 683.120(b), 683.150(a); see also Ca Fam - 291--Family Code judgments for possession or sale of property subject to EJL rules for renewal of judgments]

A judgment may be renewed simply by filing an application for renewal with the court in which the judgment was entered (and paying the appropriate filing fee). [See Ca Civ Pro - 683.120(a)] For judgments not previously renewed, application to renew may be filed any time prior to expiration of the 10-year enforcement period. [Ca Civ Pro - 683.130(a)] However, as to judgments previously renewed, no new application for renewal can be filed for five years. (This is to prevent judgment creditors from frequently renewing judgments merely to compound interest, below.) [Ca Civ Pro - 683.110(b); Ca Fam - 4502(b)(2)] Filing the renewal application (and paying the appropriate filing fee) results in automatic renewal of the judgment. No court order or new judgment is required. The court clerk simply enters the renewal of judgment in the court records. [See Ca Civ Pro - 683.150]

When installment judgments are renewed, the renewed amount of the judgment is treated as a lump-sum money judgment entered on the date the renewal application was filed, and is enforceable for 10 years from that date. [Ca Civ Pro - 683.120 (c)]

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