The court is not a collection agency. A judgment allows you to proceed with the legal aspects of collecting. The Court will send a copy of the judgment to each side. After 10 days you may proceed with other collections efforts. It is suggested you send a demand letter to the debtor. The demand letter should explain what you intend to do if the debtor does not pay you and if you are willing to accept payments. Collecting on a judgment is not easy and may take time as well as additional court fees. Before spending a great deal of time and money, assess the probability of success. Get a credit report. Does the defendant own real estate? Is he/she employed? If there is no possibility of collection, it may not be wise to spend more money! The judgment will show up on the debtors report automatically and the concern of a negative credit report will cause some people to pay.
There are several different methods of collecting, depending on the information you have or can gain. In order to obtain information about the defendant’s assets you may file for “supplemental proceedings” (Judgment Debtors Exam). This is a court order for the defendant to attend a hearing and bring a list of documents including tax forms, bank statements, employment records, etc. The defendant will be placed under oath and you may ask the defendant questions about their personal finances. Please see our Fee Schedule page for the filing fees. There will also be a charge for the process server.
Writ of Garnishment (Earnings)
You must know whether the other party is employed. You must know if the employer is a corporation or a privately held business. In the case of a privately held business, you must know who the owner is. If the employer is a corporation you must serve the statutory agent. You can obtain the statutory agent’s name and address by calling the Corporation Commission at 1-800-345-5819. If the business is privately held you may serve the business and/or the owner. Please see our Fee Schedule page for the filing fees. There will also be a charge for the process server. You may obtain the forms and instructions here.
Writ of Garnishment (Non Earnings)
If you know of a bank account, credit union account or someone that owes the defendant money you can attach the account. If you do not know the number of the account most banks will do a search for $25.00. Please see our Fee Schedule page for filing fees. There will also be a charge for the process server. You may obtain the forms and instructions here.
Lien Against Real Property
This action must be transferred to the Superior Court. Per ARS §22-246 a certified copy of the judgment must be filed with the Clerk of Superior Court who will issue an execution on the judgment. Upon filing this with the County Recorder’s Office, a lien will be placed on the defendant’s real property. The defendant cannot sell the real property until the lien is satisfied.
Writ of Execution
This is an order to the Constable to serve the defendant and attempt to collect on the judgment. This action is seldom successful unless you inform the Constable exactly what you know to be free of liens and legally attachable. It is recommended you speak with the Constable before obtaining Writ of Execution. Please see our Fee Schedule page for fee information.
Property Exempt from Execution of Judgment
Real estate that is exempt from attachment in satisfaction of judgment is discussed in Arizona Revised Statutes § 33-1101 through 33-1105. Personal property that is exempt from attachment in satisfaction of judgment is discussed in Arizona Revised Statutes § 33-1126 through 33-1133.
You may turn your judgment over to a collection agency. They know how to collect and often are successful. The agency will charge a percentage of what they collect. You can find telephone numbers for collection agencies in the Yellow Pages.
You may file your judgment with the Motor Vehicle Division if your judgment resulted from an automobile accident with an un-insured driver. This will result in the defendant’s drivers license being suspended until the judgment is paid. You must provide the following to the Arizona Motor Vehicle Department:
- Certified copy of the Judgment – 60 days after the date of the judgment, if the defendant (Judgment Debtor) has not paid (satisfied) the Judgment, advise the court where the claim was heard and obtain a certified copy of the Judgment.
- “Sixty Day Letter” from the Court – This is a letter from the court that 60 days have expired from the date the judgment was awarded and no “Satisfaction of Judgment” has been filed. This should be requested at the same time as item 1 above.
- Copy of the Accident Report – Available from the Police Department in whose jurisdiction the accident occurred.
Mail the above items to: Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Division PO Box 2100 527M Phoenix AZ 85001
Your judgment is good for five years and can be renewed 90 days prior to expiration.
Satisfaction of Judgment
It is your responsibility to file a Satisfaction of Judgment when you have been paid in full on your judgment.
These are only general guidelines. You should consult an attorney for legal advice.