Enforcing Settlement Agreement in California

Enforcing Settlement Agreement in California: A Comprehensive Guide

Settlement agreements are often used as a way to resolve legal disputes outside of court. These agreements can be beneficial for both parties involved as they can save time, costs, and efforts that come with a long drawn-out legal battle. In California, once a settlement agreement is reached, both parties are legally bound to comply with the terms of the agreement. But what happens when one party fails to comply with the terms of the agreement? In this article, we will discuss the process of enforcing settlement agreements in California.

Understanding Settlement Agreement Enforcement in California

When a settlement agreement is breached, the non-breaching party can take legal action to enforce the agreement. However, enforcing a settlement agreement is not as simple as filing a lawsuit. The process involves complex legal procedures, and it is essential to have a clear understanding of the process before proceeding.

Enforcing a settlement agreement in California is governed by the Code of Civil Procedure, Section 664.6. This code provides a streamlined process for enforcing settlement agreements that meet certain requirements:

1. The agreement must be in writing, signed by the parties, or their attorneys.

2. The agreement must state that it is enforceable or binding or both.

3. The agreement must be entered into during the course of a pending lawsuit or before litigation begins.

If the settlement agreement meets all of the above requirements, the court can enter judgment without the need for a trial. In other words, the court can enforce the settlement agreement as if it were an order of the court.

Steps for Enforcing a Settlement Agreement in California

If one party breaches a settlement agreement, the non-breaching party can take the following steps to enforce the agreement:

1. File a motion to enforce the settlement agreement: The first step is to file a motion to enforce the settlement agreement. This motion should be filed with the court that has jurisdiction over the case. The motion should include the terms of the settlement agreement and evidence of the breach.

2. Serve the opposing party: The non-breaching party must serve the opposing party with a copy of the motion to enforce the settlement agreement and notice of the hearing. This gives the opposing party an opportunity to respond to the motion.

3. Attend the hearing: Both parties must attend the hearing. At the hearing, the court will review the motion and evidence presented. If the court finds that a breach has occurred, the court will order the breaching party to comply with the settlement agreement.

4. Seek legal counsel: If you are unsure of the legal process, it is a good idea to seek legal counsel. An experienced attorney can provide guidance on the process and represent you in court if necessary.

Consequences of Breaching a Settlement Agreement

Breaching a settlement agreement can have serious consequences. The breaching party may be required to pay damages or face other sanctions ordered by the court. Additionally, the breaching party may be required to pay the legal fees of the non-breaching party.


Enforcing a settlement agreement in California is a complex legal process that requires a clear understanding of the law and the steps involved. If you have a settlement agreement that has been breached, it is important to seek legal counsel. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can help ensure that your settlement agreement is enforced and that you receive the compensation you are entitled to.

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