Debtor’s Examination

Find out What You Need to Know to Get Your Money

Getting your money on a civil judgment is a self-help undertaking.  If you know where your judgment debtor works,  a wage garnishment can be used to start getting your money.  If you know where your judgment debtor banks,  you can use a bank garnishment.  But what do you do if you don’t know where your debtor works or banks?

Debtor’s Examination

If you don’t know where your judgment debtor works or where your judgment debtor banks,  you can discover that information using a debtor’s examination.  Before you can conduct a debtor’s examination you need to know where the debtor lives.  The debtor has to be served with a summons or subpoena ordering them to appear for the examination.  If you don’t know where the debtor lives, you can’t serve the debtor.  We can attempt to locate  your judgment debtor with a “skip trace.”  Learn more about a skip trace by following this link.

There are two methods available to conduct a debtor’s examination.  The most common is a debtor’s examination conducted at the court.  For this type of debtor’s examination a summons is issued by the court ordering the debtor to appear on a date at a specific time.  If the debtor fails to appear, the creditor can ask the court to issue a civil arrest warrant for the debtor.  When the debtor appears, the debtor is placed under oath and the creditor’s attorney can begin to ask the debtor questions about the debtor’s employment and potentially executable personal property.

When the Keyt Law Office serves the debtor with the summons we also serve the debtor with a list of the information we will be asking questions about at the debtor’s examination.  The summons can also direct the debtor to bring certain information to the debtor’s examination.  If the debtor fails to answer the questions during the exam,  the creditor’s attorney can ask the court to hold the debtor in contempt.

A less frequently used method of conducting a debtor’s examination is to conduct the examination by deposition.  For this type of debtor’s examination, a subpoena is issued by the court and served on the debtor.  The subpoena orders the debtor to appear for examination at the creditor’s attorney’s office and it also orders the debtor to produce copies of certain documents identified in the subpoena.  A court reporter is present to record the statements made by the debtor.  Court reporters are typically not present for debtor’s examinations conducted at the court.  A licensed court reporter has the power to administer an oath and swear a witness to tell the truth.  The debtor is put under oath at the beginning of the deposition debtor’s exam.  The debtor is then asked questions about what they own,  where they work and where they bank.

The deposition debtor’s examination is a more expensive undertaking than a court debtor’s examination.  In addition to legal fees,  the client must also pay the court reporter’s fees.  In cases involving large judgments,  or involving debtors with complex holdings,  a debtor’ examination by deposition may be more effective than a debtor’s examination at the court.

Arizona law allows owners of judgments to question judgment debtors,  under oath,  about their employment,  bank accounts and other property which might be used to satisfy a judgment.  A debtor’s examination can be used to get the information you need to garnish or execute on the debtor’s property.

How to Retain us to Handle Your Debtor’s Examination

Read the terms of our engagement below.  The engagement describes exactly what we will do for you.  If you want to engage us,  click on the button at the bottom of the page.  This will take you to our on-line store.  After you check out of the store,  we will send you an email with instructions on how to provide us with the information we need and how we will proceed.