Judgement Purchase and Recovery

A money judgment obtained in the State of Arizona is generally enforceable for a period of five (5) years.  The judgment may, however, be renewed by affidavit or process pursuant to ARS 12-1612 or an action is brought on it within five years from the date of the entry of the judgment or of its renewal. (ARS 12-1551).  In general, all property, real and personal, not exempt by law, and all property and rights of property seized and held under attachment or garnishment in an action, are liable to execution of a judgment.  (ARS 12-1558.) Arizona law permits the garnishment of wages.   However, the maximum amount of a debtor's disposable earnings for any workweek which is subject to process may not exceed twenty-five per cent (25%) of disposable earnings for that week, or the amount by which disposable earnings for that week exceed thirty times the minimum hourly wage prescribed by federal law in effect at the time the earnings are payable, whichever is less. (ARS 12-1598, et seq., 33-1131.)

Generally, a judgment may become a lien for a period of five years from the date it is given, upon all real property of the judgment debtor except real property exempt from execution, in the county where the judgment is recorded, whether the property is then owned by the judgment debtor or is later acquired.  A recorded judgment, however, may not become a lien upon any homestead property. Any person entitled to a homestead on real property as provided by law generally holds the homestead property free and clear of the judgment lien. (ARS 33-964.) 

Foreign Judgments: Under Arizona's Revised Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act, any judgment, decree, or order of a court of the United States or of any other court is entitled to full faith and credit in the State of Arizona.  A judgment creditor seeking to enforce a foreign judgment may make and file with the clerk of the superior court an affidavit setting forth the name and last known post office address of the judgment debtor, and the judgment creditor. A notice of the filing of the foreign judgment and a copy of the foreign judgment is required to be mailed to the judgment debtor at the address given and the proof of mailing must be filed with the clerk. The notice shall include the name and post office address of the judgment creditor and the judgment creditor's attorney, if any, in this state. (ARS 12-1701, et seq.) A judgment so filed has the same effect and is subject to the same procedures, defenses and proceedings for reopening, vacating, or staying as   a judgment of the superior court of the State of Arizona and may be enforced   or satisfied in like manner.  (ARS 12-1702.) 


Legal rate:  Ten per cent (10%) per annum unless a different rate is contracted for in writing. (ARS 44-1201.) 


Judgment Rate:  Interest on a judgment on a condemnation proceeding instituted by the department of transportation, including interest which is payable pursuant to section 12-1123, subsection B, shall be payable at the rates prescribed by 

Section 28-7101. A judgment given on an agreement bearing a higher rate not in excess of the maximum permitted by law shall bear the rate of interest provided in the agreement, and it shall be specified in the judgment.  (ARS 44-1201.) 

 Exemption: In general, a debtor may claim exemption of his homestead and certain personal property from attachment and execution of a judgment, or in a bankruptcy proceeding. 

Any person the age of eighteen or over, married or single, who resides within the state of Arizona, may hold as a homestead exempt from attachment, execution and forced sale, not exceeding one hundred thousand dollars in value, his interest in his dwelling which may include real property, a condominium or cooperative, or a mobile home.  Only one homestead exemption may be held by a married couple or a single person under the provisions of Arizona law.  (ARS  33-1101, et seq.) 

Personal property exemption may include household furniture, furnishings and appliances, the total value of which does not exceed $4,000.00; food, fuel and provisions for the debtor's individual or family use for six months; personal items up to specific values prescribed by law; life insurance proceeds,  retirement funds, and tools and equipment used in a commercial activity, and trade, business or profession.  Any person the age of eighteen years or over, married or single, who resides within this state and who does not exercise the homestead exemption may claim as a personal property homestead exempt from all process prepaid rent, including security deposits as provided in ARS 33-1321, subsection A, for the claimant's residence, not exceeding the lesser of one thousand dollars or one and one-half months' rent.(ARS33-1126.) In a bankruptcy proceeding, debtors domiciled in the State of Arizona are not entitled to the federal exemptions provided in 11 U.S.C. 522 (d).  (ARS 33-1133.) 

Statutes of Limitations: An action for the recovery of money or other damages generally must be filed within a statutory period of time or such action may be barred forever. Some of the time limitations relevant to credit and collection matters are as follows: 

Oral debt; stated or open account (3 years) (ARS 12-543)  
Account between merchants (4 years) (ARS 12-544)  

Contract in writing for debt (6 years) (ARS 12-548)

General limitation (4 years) (ARS 12-550)

(G.I.S. disclaimer: each case may differ, always consult with a licensed attorney.)