How to File a Default Judgment in Maricopa County Superior Court in Arizona

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A default judgment can be made if a defendant fails to file a timely answer.
A default judgment can be made if a defendant fails to file a timely answer. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Under the Rules of Civil Procedure for the Superior Courts of Arizona, a civil action is deemed open upon the filing of a complaint with the Maricopa County Superior Court. The party bringing the claim -- the plaintiff -- must then make arrangements to have a copy of the complaint along with a court-issued summons lawfully and timely served upon the defendant. After being served with the summons, the defendant is required to file an answer to the complaint within 20 calendar days -- 30 days if the complaint was served outside of Arizona. If the defendant fails to file an answer within the allotted time, the plaintiff may file for a default judgment against the defendant.

Navigate to the Maricopa County Superior Court website and download the document titled “Cover Sheet - Default Judgment Packets.” Alternatively, you can acquire this document at self-service centers located in both Phoenix and Mesa Superior Court locations. This document itemizes all requirements for constructing a complete default judgment packet.

Engage a licensed attorney to prepare your default judgment packet. A licensed attorney must certify by signature that the default judgment packet is complete. Should the default judgment be entered by the Superior Court, it shall include an award of the attorney's fees -- up to an amount deemed reasonable by the court -- if supported by the affidavit in the default judgment packet.

File your completed default judgment packet with the Clerk of the Superior Court. The Clerk of the Superior Court maintains multiple office branches, which as of December 2010 are open for filing Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Mail notice of this filing to the defendant. If you know the whereabouts of the defendant, you must mail a copy of the default judgment packet to him. Additionally, if you know the defendant to be represented by an attorney, you must mail a copy of the default judgment packet to him. If you do not know the whereabouts of the defendant, your default judgment packet must state this. The default judgment will become effective 10 days after the filing, provided the defendant does not file an answer or otherwise appear in defense of himself.

Tips & Warnings

  • In Arizona, the Superior Courts hear monetary cases exceeding $10,000, while the Justice Courts hear all other monetary cases. The requirements for filing a default judgment in the two courts are not equivalent.
  • Your default judgment packet must be reviewed and attested to by a licensed attorney. Your filing will not be accepted otherwise.

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