If you have a judgment entered against you, chances are that you are looking for ways to get it resolved or are wondering how long the judgment will be effective until it expires. This is a common issue facing many people and fortunately Arizona has specific laws that govern how long a judgment is valid and what steps a judgment creditor must take in order to renew (or extend) their judgment. Quite often creditors miss their renewal period and the timing of a judgment renewal is critical to the survival of the judgment.
Arizona Judgments Expire in 5 Years Unless Timely Renewed
In Arizona, a judgment becomes unenforceable after five years from the date of entry unless action is taken to renew it. In re Smith, 209 Ariz. 343, 101 P.3d 637; see also Crye v. Edwards, 178 Ariz. 327, 328, 873 P.2d 665, 666 (App.1993) (“monetary judgments expire in Arizona if not renewed every five years”).
Arizona law permits renewal of a judgment by filing an affidavit for renewal with the clerk of the proper court. A judgment creditor may within the 90 day period immediately prior to five years from the date of entry of such judgment, make and file an affidavit, known as a renewal affidavit.
The Judgment Renewal Must Abide by 90 Day Window
The timeliness of the renewal affidavit is a strict statutory requirement and is not subject to modification by the court. State Industrial Commission of Arizona v. Galloway, 224 Ariz. 325(Ct. App. Ariz. 2010). After filing an initial renewal affidavit, subsequent renewal affidavits must be filed within the 90 day period before the expiration of five years from the date of the filing of the prior renewal affidavit, not prior to the 90 day period or after it. Indeed, Arizona statutes governing renewal by affidavit do not make allowances for varying from the 90 day window, regardless of how near to that window a given filing may be. Fidelity National Financial v. Friedman, 855 F. Supp. 2d 948 (D. Ariz. 2012).
Based on current Arizona law, take a careful look at the date the judgment was entered and calculate the date of its 5 year expiration. It is important to monitor the court docket to determine if the judgment creditor has timely renewed its judgment. Our firm recently litigated this issue where the judgment creditor filed its renewal affidavit one day early. Action was brought to set aside the renewal affidavit as untimely and thus ineffective to renew the judgment. In setting aside the renewal affidavit, the court found that the renewal was untimely and ineffective to renew the judgment. As such, the judgment expired and was no longer collectible.
It’s Possible the Judgment Against You has Expired
Given the limited time frame and strict compliance required to renew a judgment, creditors often miss their window to renew. When trying to determine if a judgment entered against you is still valid, analyze the timing and renewal requirements. It is quite possible that the judgment against you has expired!