COLLECTING YOUR JUDGMENT
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 the other collection efforts. It is suggested you send a demand letter to the debtor. The demand letter should explain why 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 she/he employed? If there is no possibility of collection, it may not be wise to spend more money!
Supplemental Proceedings (Civil Complaints and done by an Attorney)
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. The cost to file is $24.00 plus the cost of 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, a private held business and if so 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 542-3026. If the business is privately held you may serve the business and/or the owner. The cost to file is $24.00 plus the cost of the process server.
Writ of Garnishment (Non-Earnings) Bank accounts
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. The cost to file is $24.00 plus the cost of a process server.
Lien Against Real Property
This action must be transferred to Superior Court. Per ARS 22-246 a certified copy of the judgment ($24.00 fee at the Justice Court) must be filed with the Clerk of the 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 a Writ of Execution. The cost to file is $24.00 plus constable fees.
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. The cost is $24.00
- “Sixty day letter from the Court.
This is a letter from the Court that 60 days have expired from the date of the Judgment was awarded and no Satisfaction of Judgment has been filed.
- 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
P.O. Box 2100 535M
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 and you should consult an attorney for legal advice.