Does CSC offer services to self-represented parties?

Yes. We are happy to offer litigation support services not only to attorneys but also to self-represented parties. To be able to offer this service, effectively, self-represented parties are required to advance payment or deposit, depending on the type of service requested. A pre-payment dialogue will appear, when a self-represented party’s request for services is submitted.

What happens when I place my first request/order?

After the first order is placed, the requesting attorney will receive a “confirmation and welcome email”. After this email, you will receive an automatic notification from our document management system, which will prompt you to create an access password to be associated with your email address, in order to access the letters, subpoenas, responses to subpoenas, documents, etc., associated with your requests. Keep in mind that you should create the password to be unique from other websites so that you can maintain total control over the sensitive information that is accessible through your access point (even if you are friends with your staff or co-counsel, you should not share this password – separate access can be granted to them, at your discretion, at no additional cost – you should make sure to maintain control over your business and business decisions).

Once you (or any other approved staff or attorney) create(s) a password, you will not have to login on a routine or “curiosity” basis to find out if new documents are in your box. When we upload records to your case profile(s), everyone will receive an automatic notification informing them that a document has been uploaded and, with our use of standard/informative naming conventions, the title of the document will likely immediately advise you of precisely what has been uploaded. Thereafter, depending on the nature/title of the document, you can decide whether you want to login immediately or do so later.

What happens when I place a subsequent request/order?

Documents will continue to be uploaded to our document management system (of which you will automatically and immediately receive notice(s), and which you will be able to access, download, and print immediately or at your convenience, as they become available). We will also send paper sets of records, as requested.

As long as your contact information does not change, our exchange of information with you will remain seamless. If your submitted contact information changes, let us know…we will verify it and, thereafter, change it.

Can my associate attorneys or staff access records that I request?

Yes. You can designate whomever you wish to access records on a case-by-case and/or document-by-document basis. For example, if you are a solo, small-, or medium-sized firm, you can continuously designate all of your staff to receive notices and have access to all records. If you are a medium- or larger-sized firm, you may wish to have certain case-documents or cases noticed to. and accessed by, only, certain staff or attorneys, depending on to whom the case is assigned.

Similarly, you may wish to receive all notices and/or have access to all documents, notwithstanding the particular case (for your own information and management purposes). Or you may not wish to receive any notices because you do not want your email cluttered.

These needs are determined by you, depending on your individual need(s), workflow need(s), or team flow/environment need(s). If you have specific desires (i.e. to receive all notices and accesses, notwithstanding the case and work flow delegates, please call us or send us an email, so we can try to create ‘familiar practices’ with your firm and customize option(s) for you.

There is no additional charge from us to you to add additional ‘delegate-access’ to cases, whether they are attorneys, paralegals, staff,  expert witnesses, or any title in between.

Can I add my client to a case profile, so that the client can economically access the records and notices in real time, too?

At this time, we are willing to continue granting separate access points to clients, because we believe that it promotes economical and efficient litigation.

However, we ask that you specifically inform your clients that, although they can access their case profile and view, download, and print records, at the same time as you, we cannot communicate with them or act on their behalf. We will, also, not review and interpret records with the parties.

All discussions, calls, or other communications to us, regarding records and our work should come from you or your office and, similarly, discussions, interpretations, and strategizing based upon the records and documents should remain between you and your client.

Note, also, that if you grant access of records to your clients, we will not remove or disable their access except to the extent that we will grant a new access point under a new email address if their current email address becomes compromised. Our apologies if this poses an inconvenience, but our business policy is to remain uninvolved with potential disputes between attorneys and their clients.

Can voluminous discovery responses be economically submitted to an expert or other peripheral consultant?

Yes. We can simply add your expert or other peripheral consultant to the particular case that you wish to “share” with them by granting them a separate access point. You can, then specify or limit the particular documents to “share” with them (i.e. a bank’s response to a subpoena consisting of 3,000 pages, or CALPERS’ response to a subpoena with applicable actuary information, or photographs of an incident or scene, etc.).

Once access is granted and established, the expert or other peripheral consultant will receive and have notices and access to download, print, and save, the specified documents (i.e. just a response to a particular subpoena) or to the ongoing string of documents that relate to a particular matter or category of discovery (i.e. all subpoenas, objections, meet and confer letters, responses, results, orders, etc. related to a subpoena.). This is your choice.

Note, of course, that we cannot delegate/grant access to records, letters, correspondence, and other information that are not associated with our services or not sent to us (for example, incidental or peripheral motions or correspondence).

What happens to online access for an attorney or staff who leaves the firm?

Access is based on an individual’s email address, which means that access can be similarly disabled. Upon request, we can immediately disable access to any user to whom access was previously granted. This can include staff or attorney(s) who are leaving a firm or other peripheral individuals who the supervising/firm attorney deem to no longer require access.

We ask that these requests be communicated as far in advance as possible, in order to mitigate compromise or undesired access.

If you hire a new staff or attorney, we can either re-enable access under the same email address (in which case a new password would be required to be set and, thus, continue to prevent the prior staff or attorney from undesired logins through that email address) or we can, alternatively, enable access to the same documents or cases under a separate email address (new access point), which will prompt the creation of a password. Or we can do both.

Neither of these will impede your, or any other users’ access, because the access points are based on email addresses that remain active until individually disabled or deleted.

If I plan to use CSC frequently, can I submit requests without having to re-type my firm name and contact information?

Yes. Although the ‘auto-fill’ feature of most browsers generally solve this problem, automatically, we can also create an ‘invisible’ ordering page for you if you anticipate submitting multiple requests, either, for yourself, for your supervising attorney, or for the same firm.

This page will be unique to you. Please call us if you wish to set up such a page.

There will be no additional charge to you/the firm – it is, simply, a convenience feature that can be customized if desired.

CSC seems to be, primarily, dedicated to family law. Does CSC offer subpoena services to other attorneys/litigators?

Our staff are uniquely experienced in family law practice and procedure and the nuances of the discovery and enforcement procedures that are distinctive to the needs/desires of family law attorneys. Our staff is also experienced in California State civil litigation and enforcement of judgment issues and procedures. As a result, much of our discussion is dedicated to these areas.

We are capable and competent to handle subpoenas for many areas state civil litigation matters, including civil litigation, probate, guardianship, conservatorship, family law, and related areas.

At this time, though, we do not offer subpoena services for federal litigation matters, criminal litigation matters, or Intellectual property litigation matters.

How long does it take to get records via subpoena?

To accommodate the time period for the required Notice to Consumer and a small window of time to effectuate service of the subpoena, it, generally, takes around 25-30 days. This timeframe can be mitigated, either, by way of personal service (as opposed to mailed service) of the Notice to Consumer or with a Waiver of the time for Notice to the Consumer. If you want us to do/seek either of these, please let us know in your request. Keep in mind that, even though the opposing counsel or party may waive the noticing-period for the consumer, a deponent MUST STILL be given at least 20 days from the date of service of the subpoena (this is the deponent’s statutorily afforded “time for notice”) to produce the records.

Please keep this in mind when planning for trials and hearings, as there may be discovery cutoff and/or motion dates that need to be observed less the subpoena be subject to objection by the consumer or opposing party for being untimely.

In addition, it is just easier to get things done well in advance of the deadlines not only to avoid procedural objections but also so as to allow sufficient time prior to a hearing or trial to be able to review the materials, make notes on the materials, absorb the information, develop witness questions and strategy, and, otherwise, proceed more readily toward hearing or trial.

Why do some subpoenas seem to have around 25-30 days designated for production while other subpoenas seem to have around 45 days designated for production?

Some deponents read the time period for production consecutively (instead of concurrently) with the time period for the notice to the consumer. If the time periods overlap, and there is no intermittent window for service (we call this a ‘green-belt’ of time), the deponent will object to the subpoena, either, on the basis that the consumer has not received sufficiently advanced notice or that the deponent does not have sufficient time for production based on the service date.

Notoriously, this occurs with certain banks and financial institutions (who will not be named, here).

While, it is our position that this interpretation of the two separate statutes regarding time periods for notice is incorrect, we recognize that we are not the persons ‘meeting and conferring’ or having to write motions to compel.

As a result, rather than waste our client’s time and money (and unnecessarily fabricate our own employment), by issuing subpoenas that will inevitably result in objections by these deponents or motions to compel for the parties, or having to reissue the subpoenas into perpetuity, we simply issue subpoenas to certain deponents in accordance with their apparent internal policies regarding responding to subpoenas. This mitigates avoidable controversy and undesired discovery litigation and, further, promotes end-game satisfaction.

Please keep this in mind when planning for trials and hearings, as there may be discovery cutoff and/or motion dates that need to be observed less the subpoena be subject to objection by the consumer or opposing party for being untimely.

In addition, it is just easier to get things done well in advance of the deadlines not only to avoid procedural objections but also so as to allow sufficient time prior to a hearing or trial to be able to review the materials, make notes on the materials, absorb the information, develop witness questions and strategy, and, otherwise, proceed more readily toward hearing or trial.

I know the consumer’s “home branch”. Why doesn’t CSC want specified addresses when issuing subpoenas to banks?

In accordance with Code of Civil Procedure §684.115, certain banks and financial institutions follow a “centralized service” rule. We follow this rule and choose the appropriate branch to serve, depending not only on the ‘designated branch’ that is on file with the California Department of Business Oversight (DBO) but also the timing of when the subpoena will be served and where our most cost-efficient servers will be during that timeframe.

For more specific information on this topic, please see our Resources Page.

Although I may wish to use CSC’s services, I like to use my own attachments for subpoenas. Can I do this?

Yes. Every attorney has their own practices and preferences for one reason or another.

So long as we are designated to be the deposition officer (the one to receive the records), your own practices and preferences are your own.

Feel free to upload your own subpoena attachments to your requests. We will prepare the subpoena(s) and notice(s) to consumer(s) and use your attachment(s).

If you prefer to prepare, issue, and notice-out the entire subpoena, we can accommodate that, too. Just designate us as the deposition officer and upload the entire document, together, with all notice(s) to consumer(s) and proof(s) of service.

What are the methods I can use to enforce a judgment or order?

Generally speaking, you can use all methods of enforcement afforded by the Code of Civil Procedure (Ref, CCP, Title 9, Division 1, commencing with §685.010 for enforcements of judgments generally. Ref, CCP, Title 9, Division 2, commencing with §695.010 for enforcement of money Judgments. Ref, CCP, Title 9, Division 3, commencing with §712.010 for enforcements of non-money judgments.)

Practically speaking, however, the answer to this question usually comes down to three prevalent issues: 1) the amount of the judgment being enforced; 2) the money on hand, wages earned, or other assets owned by the debtor; and 3) how much you wish to spend on enforcement efforts, bearing in mind the first two issues.

For enforcement of most money judgments against ‘average consumers’, the wage garnishment and bank levy are, generally, the most effective or economical methods. In cases, where the judgments are higher in value, or the debtor has more assets, or the creditor has more financial wherewithal to expend on enforcement efforts, the chosen modes of enforcement, as a practical matter, can become more broad.

In addition, in certain family law situations, there are methods of enforcement that may not be, otherwise, available, such as wage/income assignments (rather than ‘garnishments’), abstracts of support judgments, deposits of funds into blocked accounts to secure future support obligations, interstate property liens, and so on.

How soon can I start enforcement of a judgment or order?

Unless there are stay of enforcement issues (either automatic or expressly ordered), a creditor can typically commence enforcement proceedings immediately.

In many civil cases, for example, a creditor will submit a proposed judgment, together, with a proposed writ of execution and proposed abstract of judgment, which are often, then, filed and issued simultaneously. Thereafter, the creditor generally pursues garnishments, bank levies, or whatever other enforcement method is appropriate given the debtor’s financial circumstances.

The above can be done in family law, too (although the issuance procedure and speed of return on a writ or abstract may be dependent upon the county). This is because some counties employ in their family law divisions staff known as ‘writ clerks’ or similar personnel who ‘review’ proposed writs and abstracts and independently decide whether or not the writ or abstract should be issued. Although the CCP provides that writs and abstracts are to be issued ‘over the counter’ (and further provides independent/separate remedies for the debtor in the case of an incorrectly calculated writ or abstract implemented by a creditor), the reality is that a ‘writ clerk’ or other similar staff could delay your enforcement process by taking several days or weeks to independently analyze and determine whether your writ is ‘valid’ (in our lay opinion, practice law by rendering an unsolicited legal analysis of your papers).

As a result, and in any event, you should plan your enforcements accordingly and anticipate delays in order to mitigate your future disappointment.

Once your abstract or writ is issued, you will be able to proceed in a procedural manner, outside the court, typically through the civil division of the county sheriff’s office.

Will my enforcement be effective?

We can prepare writs and enforcement papers and effectuate them properly. Unfortunately, though, we cannot guarantee, for example, that a debtor will have sufficient funds in his/her bank account to cover a judgment or that a debtor has not closed a bank account or that a debtor is not subject to a higher priority garnishment, when yours is effectuated.

If anyone could guarantee these things, they would probably be considered ‘Enforcement Gods’ and there would be little purpose for our existence or this FAQ page.

Enforcing judgments (aside from the procedural aspect of issuing writs) is an artful process. There are things you can do or take into consideration to strategize your enforcement efforts. For example:

If a debtor is a renter, then you may wish to serve a bank levy near the 30th day of the month (possibly the last Thursday or Friday);

Similarly, if you know that a debtor is employed and paid weekly, every two weeks, or semi-monthly, you may want to look at your calendar and try to ascertain when the debtor is most likely to have higher sums in his bank account, dependent on when his/her rent or mortgage payment or other large monthly payment is due;

If a debtor owns rental property, you may wish to obtain an assignment of rental income rather than a 3rd party/rent levy;

If you know where a debtor is employed but not where a debtor banks, you may wish to subpoena payroll, direct deposit records, and/or cancelled payroll records.

If you know where a debtor banks but does not know where a debtor is employed, you may wish to subpoena bank records for statements and images of deposits.

If you know that a debtor rents, for example, an apartment, you may wish to subpoena the debtor’s rental application whereupon debtors usually list employers, sources of income, credit references, and bank references. You could also request copies of checks the debtor uses to currently pay rent, if you think an application might be outdated.

If you are aware that a debtor recently made a large purchase (such as an automobile), you may wish to subpoena their credit application whereupon debtors typically list employers, bank references, assets that can be used as collateral, bank references, ACH payment authorizations, and so on.

Although enforcements can sometimes seem daunting at first glance, the creditor, in many cases, actually knows more about a debtor’s financial standing and lifestyle than they realize.

Should I enforce a support obligation or other monetary obligation first?

This is a controversial question, both, because it imposes procedural problems and because it imposes ethical conundrums.

If you are debating on enforcing support orders versus a money-judgment, attorney’s fees or property division order, you might consider serving writs of execution to enforce the non-support portion(s) of the judgment, first, rather than enforcing the support provisions of the judgment(s). This is because a support enforcement would likely subordinate and supplant a non-support judgment/enforcement, thus, rendering the non-support order or judgment unenforceable – furthermore, money judgments have a statutory time limit for enforcement whereas a support obligation, generally, has no limitation and interest does not become waived (especially, this is true for child support obligations).

If you want to do this, you may wish to discuss the matter with your client and, possibly, get an agreement in writing to this effect, so that it will be clear, later, that you were looking out for ALL of your client’s interests rather than just the support interests or other monetary interests. It could be argued by you, on the one hand, that you were protecting your client’s ‘global’ interests by implementing such a cascading strategy. On the other hand, a client could complain that their ‘support interests’ were not upheld; likewise, it could be conversely argued that an attorney not being paid could move to withdraw from a case in which their client is not paying, which could be alternatively devastating to the client’s (support) case.

This kind of decision is a judgment-call and, typically, requires open discussion with the client about immediate benefits and end-game benefits. In any case, in such discussions, a written agreement should be implemented or, in the least, a confirming letter or email should be sent to the client memorializing the discussion, potential benefits, potential consequences, and the decision that was reached regarding those matters.

Can I recover costs of enforcement?

In most cases, yes.

Code of Civil Procedure §§685.040, 685.050, and 685.070 enumerate various costs that can be added back to the judgment and recovered upon successful collection or enforcement.

Although these costs are recoverable, the likelihood that you will actually recover the costs is directly proportional to the likelihood that you will be successful in collecting or enforcing the judgment.

Can I recover attorney’s fees and costs incurred or expended to enforce a judgment?


Attorney’s fees can be added to a Judgment in much the same way as costs are added to a judgment. However, post-judgment attorney’s fees, typically, can only be added to a judgment when expressly permitted by statute or by contract, or when the underlying judgment includes such an award (Ref, CCP §685.040 and §1033.5).

Can I file an OSC re Contempt against a debtor for failure to pay a judgment or court order?

This is a multi-pronged question that generally results in more discussions than answers.

First, it needs to be understood that contempt in civil cases is considered a quasi-criminal action, because, although the contempt is being brought in a civil court, the consequences to the other party, if found guilty, are criminal in nature (i.e. jail time, community service, fines, or a combination of these).

With regards to civil money judgments (i.e. for breach of contract, statutory penalties, property damage, etc.), a debtor cannot be imprisoned for failure to pay a judgment (money-debt) – in older times, these were referred to as “debtor’s prisons” and our country did away with debtor’s prisons long ago. However, there are other circumstances in civil/enforcement proceedings where a debtor can be found guilty of contempt, such as for failing to perform an act that the debtor is presumably capable of doing: some examples would be for failing to appear in court for a debtor’s examination, failing to turn over an item of property to a Sheriff after having been served with a turnover order, failing to comply with a wage garnishment against the debtor that is served upon a corporation owned by the debtor, and other non-compliance matters other than non-payment of the underlying money-judgment.

In the context of family law cases and enforcements, the lines and definitions become a little more blurred. For example, a support obligor (not a “debtor”) can be held in contempt of court for failure to pay his/her child support obligation.  Also, some family law attorneys take the position that non-payment of court ordered attorney’s fees (usually incurred to enforce or establish child support) can be enforced through contempt proceedings.