Regular readers of our blog know that states handle judgment collection in different ways. State laws dictate how judgments are rendered, recorded, and enforced. In Arizona, there are a few peculiarities worth mentioning.
For the remainder of this post, assume we are talking about monetary judgments only. These are judgments in which part of the decision includes a monetary award. It could be a lawsuit involving a utility company trying to collect an unpaid bill or a landlord attempting to collect unpaid rent after an eviction.
The Opportunity to Pay
Under normal circumstances, collecting a judgment in Arizona begins with giving the debtor a realistic opportunity to pay what is owed. An ideal situation would see the creditor and debtor work out some sort of plan to get things settled. Perhaps the creditor will agree to a monthly installment plan based on the debtor’s monthly budget. There are plenty of options available.
If the debtor fails to cooperate or agrees to some sort of payment plan but does not follow through, the creditor has some choices to make. The creditor can forget about the debt and let it go. Alternatively, the creditor can continue trying to collect by recording the judgment.
Recording Attaches a Lien
According to the Pima County, AZ website, recording a judgment in Arizona automatically attaches a lien to the judgment debtor’s “property or any property acquired.” Attaching a lien gives the creditor a financial interest in the debtor’s property until the debt has been repaid. However, another step is required.
In order to know what property can be affected by the lien, a debtor’s examination must be conducted. The examination is essentially a review of the debtor’s assets and income. A typical debtor’s examination looks at cash, real property, corporate shares and interests, loans, support payments, etc.
Arizona is similar to many other states in that they allow certain assets to remain exempt from liens. Creditors in Arizona cannot go after the equity in a debtor’s home, certain household goods, and up to $1,500 interest in an automobile.
Recording Is Good for 5 Years
Another interesting thing about collecting judgments in Arizona is the statute of limitations. Almost all states have such statutes; the average length is 7-10 years. In Arizona though, the statute of limitations is five years. Judgments that remain uncollected after five years need to either be renewed or abandoned.
Renewing a judgment in Arizona is not difficult. The debtor simply returns to the original court and records the judgment a second time. However, the action must be taken prior to the judgment’s current expiration date. Otherwise, the judgment is considered abandoned.
We Collect Judgments in Arizona
Attempting to collect a judgment on your own can be a daunting task. Whether you are in Arizona, Utah, or any of the other states we operate in, the process of collecting an unpaid judgment can be complicated and difficult to understand. If you do not know the best ways of going about collecting, you might find yourself spinning your wheels. That is where we come in.
Judgment Collectors specializes in unpaid judgments. We use a variety of tools and resources to track down debtors, make contact, and settle things up. We would be happy to take a look at any outstanding judgments you might be working on.
As an added bonus, we work on consignment. That means our efforts cost you nothing if we fail to collect. You are protected against any further expenditure while we do the heavy lifting for you. If you would like to know more, feel free to contact us at your earliest convenience.