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  1. #1
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    Question Is an Award of Attorney Fees and Costs a Civil Judgment

    My question involves judgment recovery in the State of:Pennsylvania

    Several years ago my ex filed a frivolous custody lawsuit against me. Subsequently the same Court issued a Final Order and ordered them to pay me $55,000 in Counsel Fees and Costs.

    Is this the same a Civil Judgment?

    Thank you

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Civil Judgment Termonology

    If (as appears to be the case) you are stating that in the conclusion to the custody litigation the court denied the relief requested by your ex- and included in that judgment an award to you of $55,000 in attorney fees and costs then, yes, that award is part of a civil judgment.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Civil Judgment Termonology

    As always, thank you Mr. Knowitall. I appreciate your input and its much less expensive than speaking with my attorney.

    For clarity.
    My ex made unfounded allegations. I decided I was going to fight the allegations. I paid for evaluations. I paid a portion of and additionally accrued a very large legal bill. I litigated the allegations in custody court. I was awarded primary physical custody.

    Then, separately, I sued for counsel fees using 23 PA CSA 5339 and 23 PA CSA 6117(b) as the legal basis. I was then awarded fees.

    The words Civil Judgement are not in the Final Order, but you feel these are the same?

    Thank you again.

    Regards

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Civil Judgment Termonology

    The two primary types of court are civil and criminal. A family court is a civil court, and thus a judgment that it enters is a civil judgment.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Civil Judgment Termonology

    Quote Quoting as42dcwsdf2
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    Then, separately, I sued for counsel fees using 23 PA CSA 5339 and 23 PA CSA 6117(b) as the legal basis. I was then awarded fees.
    Did you get paid the $55,000?

    I'm guessing you didn't or you wouldn't be here asking about the terminology when you should be asking what to do about collecting the money.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Civil Judgment Termonology

    Mr. Knowitall, thank you for clarifying

    adjusterjack, No I have not been paid. It's likely that I'll be asking more about how to collect soon.

    Thank you both.

  7. #7
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    Dec 2013
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    Default Re: Civil Judgment Termonology

    Quote Quoting as42dcwsdf2
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    My ex made unfounded allegations. I decided I was going to fight the allegations. I paid for evaluations. I paid a portion of and additionally accrued a very large legal bill. I litigated the allegations in custody court. I was awarded primary physical custody.

    Then, separately, I sued for counsel fees using 23 PA CSA 5339 and 23 PA CSA 6117(b) as the legal basis. I was then awarded fees.

    The words Civil Judgement are not in the Final Order, but you feel these are the same?
    What you need is a JUDGMENT in the case and on the docket (yes, it would be a civil judgment, but the civil part isn't the issue). It doesn't matter what the court order says, if there's no judgment in the case and on the docket then you don't have a judgment. You can initiate collection proceedings on a judgment, but not on a court order. If you have access to the court docket electronically, then you can look it up yourself. If you don't have electronic access to the court docket, then you can call the court clerks and ask them if there is a judgment in the case, and if so then against whom and for what amount. If you have a court order, but no judgment, then you have to follow whatever procedures would be appropriate to convert the court order to a judgment. For instance, if you have a "non-jury verdict" awarding you money damages against the defendant, then I think you can simply file a praecipe to convert the non-jury verdict to a judgment.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Civil Judgment Termonology

    For purposes of enforcing a money judgment, the Pennsylvania Code defines "judgment" as "a judgment or order requiring the payment of money entered in any court which is subject to these rules, including a final or interlocutory order for payment of costs, except a judgment against the Commonwealth or a political subdivision". (Pennsylvania is not among the minority of states that allow jury trials for aspects of divorce or custody litigation.) If the OP seeks enforcement of the order through the issuing court, I don't think that it will be necessary to take additional steps to convert the trial court's final order and grant of sanctions into a different form of judgment; but certainly, we don't have access to the court's documents or records so I can't rule out the possibility of a need for additional steps.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Civil Judgment Termonology

    Quote Quoting Mr. Knowitall
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    For purposes of enforcing a money judgment, the Pennsylvania Code defines "judgment" as "a judgment or order requiring the payment of money entered in any court which is subject to these rules, including a final or interlocutory order for payment of costs, except a judgment against the Commonwealth or a political subdivision". (Pennsylvania is not among the minority of states that allow jury trials for aspects of divorce or custody litigation.) If the OP seeks enforcement of the order through the issuing court, I don't think that it will be necessary to take additional steps to convert the trial court's final order and grant of sanctions into a different form of judgment; but certainly, we don't have access to the court's documents or records so I can't rule out the possibility of a need for additional steps.
    I understand that the rules define an "order requiring the payment of money entered in any court which is subject to these rules" as a "judgment". But good luck trying to get a writ of execution based on a court order when there is no actual judgment listed on the court docket. If that can actually be done, then I will stand corrected. If not, it's just a

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Civil Judgment Termonology

    While I can see your position in relation to a jury verdict that had not yet been reduced to a judgment, Pennsylvania seems pretty clear on the enforcement of a judgment, a term that encompasses "a judgment or order requiring the payment of money entered in any court which is subject to these rules, including a final or interlocutory order for payment of costs". Execution is permitted against real and personal property under the very next section, Sec. 3101.1. Is there a statute, rule or case I should be looking at, under which the order described by the OP wouldn't fall under those provisions? I don't want to steer somebody wrong. While any states have provisions that can make things more difficult than this, certainly, but Pennsylvania seems to have removed unnecessary hurdles between getting an order for sanctions and enforcing that order.

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