POWER OF ASSIGNMENT ORDERS IN JUDGMENT ENFORCEMENT
A staple in a judgment enforcement lawyers toolbox is the assignment order. Essentially, it is a Court-ordered assignment of rights of the debtor to receive payments, which diverts those payments away from the debtor, and cause them to be made to Creditor instead. Similar to a wage garnishment, but covering just about any sort of payments imaginable, it is one of the broadest remedies in the Enforcement of Judgments Law (EJL).
*Commissions, Stipends, Draws, other non-wage compensation
*Money paid by insurance policies
However, because the code is clear that the list “includes but is not limited to” the things listed, assignment orders cover just about every payment type you can think of. It can also include a restraining order preventing transfer of the payments, under Code of Civil Procedure Section 708.520.
Another great thing about assignment orders as a judgment collection mechanism is that, what the Court considers “payments to the debtor” can be construed in multiple ways, and assignment orders can grab money that would otherwise require going after third parties, to get. Thus, if a debtor has diverted payments away from his/herself to somewhere else, you can “re-divert” them back, and take them.*
Examples of this are:
Los Angeles Judgment Enforcement Case #1: Debtor was working for his own company, but wasn’t getting paid. His ex wife was mysteriously getting $20000.00 per month from the company, even though she had never set foot in, or worked for, the business. We asked the court to divert those payments which the ex-wife was getting, to us, based on the fact that this was really money the debtor was earning, he was just paying it to someone else. The Court agreed, and granted the order.
Los Angeles Judgment Enforcement Case #2: Debtor owned a 40% of a large warehouse property. The rent was being paid to a relative of his, and he stated that he transferred the property to this relative (but the documents provided were inconclusive on this point) We asked for an assignment of rents, because even though the money was going to another person, the debtor owned the property, and therefore, those were the debtors rents, in reality. Court agreed, and we received $7000 per month for years on this case.
The list goes on, but the point is illustrated: Money that is going to third parties, but which can be shown to “actually” belong to the debtor, can be garnished.* The idea of what “actually belongs” to whom, is a topic for another time, but one which we promise we will write about.
Lastly, Assignment orders be very broad in not only in terms of the types of payments, but in terms of the additional things that can be in iters. Examples of this are:
*Court can order debtor to submit monthly accountings of all moneys subject to the order
*Court can order Debtor to collect all the money, account for it, and pay it over the creditor himself, in situations where the creditor cannot serve the assignment order on all the payment sources (Example, Debtor was a salesman and did not know who his future customers would be that would be paying him; Court ordered debtor to keep records of all customers he solicited and who actually paid him and how much, and to pay Creditor at end of month )*
Assignment orders , like many remedies in judgment enforcement, can range from extremely simple and straightforward, to extremely creative, and everything in between.
If you ever want to talk about it, Evanns Collection Law is a Los Angeles Judgment Enforcement Law Firm. Our judgment enforcement attorneys have been enforcing judgments in Los Angeles and throughout Southern California since 2011. We write articles to inform and help others regarding enforcing their judgments. We love what we do and are happy to talk to clients and other practitioners regarding their judgment collection needs. Phone calls are always free. Call us!
*:Note, this is NOT in the code, this is strictly something that needs to be argued in front of the judge, and the judge needs to be convinced of it. No warranties or representations are made that this will always work or ever work for you; Each case depends on facts and evidence. Always consult a judgment collection attorney with such matters.