County of Los Angeles
Department of Consumer Affairs
Add Collection Costs & Interest to Your Judgment
If you win your case, the money the court awards you is called the judgment. You are called the Judgment Creditor and the person who owes you the money is the Judgment Debtor.
After you win your case, you may have to pay fees to the Sheriff, the Court Clerk and others to collect your money.
The money you spend to collect your judgment are your collection costs. The law allows you to add your collection costs and interest, to your judgment.
Common collection costs
Fees paid to the court clerk for:
- Issuing a Writ of Execution
- An Abstract of Judgment
- A Judgment Debtor hearing
Fees paid to the Sheriff for:
- Garnishing wages
- Collecting from a bank account
- A till tap or keeper
Fees paid to the Registrar-Recorder or DMV for:
- Filing a lien on real property
- Suspending a driver license
Be sure to keep receipts for these costs.
How often can I add collection costs?
You can add collection costs every time you spend money to try to collect your judgment. You have two years from the time you pay a collection cost to add it to your judgment.
How much interest can I add?
The law allows you to add 10% interest per year to your judgment. To calculate this amount, multiply the unpaid judgment by 10%.
Example: If your judgment is $5,000:
$5,000 (total judgment)
x 0.10 (10% interest)
= $500 (yearly interest)
Divide by 365:
$500 (yearly interest)
÷ 365 (days in a year)
= $1.37 (daily interest)
Multiply the daily interest by the number of days since the court entered the judgment. If the judgment was entered 100 days ago:
$1.37 (daily interest)
x 100 (days unpaid)
= $137 (total interest owed)
The daily interest x the number of days your judgment remains unpaid = the total interest owed.
How do I add my costs and interest to the judgment?
Take these four steps:
- Get the form called Memorandum of Costs after Judgment, Acknowledgement of Credit, and Declaration of Accrued Interest.
- List your collection costs and the interest you are owed. List any money the Judgment Creditor has already paid you. Make a photocopy of the front and back of the form.
- Have someone over the age of 18 mail the photocopy to the Judgment Debtor and fill out the Proof of Service section on the back of the form. If you are only claiming interest, you do not have to mail a copy to the Judgment Debtor.
- Keep a copy of the form. Return the original to the court clerk’s office. There is no fee for filing this form.
Unless the Judgment Debtor objects to the costs being added, the court will review your form and add allowable costs to your judgment.
Court forms are available here and at California Courts - Forms. Select "Small Claims" from the pull down menu. Forms are also available at the Court Clerk's office.
Contact us for more information or speak with one of our counselors at (800) 593-8222. If you live outside of Southern California, call us at (213) 974-9759.
Updated March 1, 2008
For more information:
County of Los Angeles Department of Consumer Affairs
B-96 Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration
500 W. Temple Street *
Los Angeles, CA 90012-2706
Telephone (800) 593-8222 (within LA County)
web site: dca.lacounty.gov