Arkansas judgment records contain the final verdict issued by the court following a judicial proceeding. In Arkansas, judgment records include the personal information of the parties involved, the litigant's name, case number, the presiding court and judge, facts of the case, and other related information. Since judgment records are considered official court records, interested and eligible persons can access them as well as other Arkansas court records through the state courts.
What is a Judgment?
According to Rule 54 of the Arkansas Rules of Civil Procedure, a judgment is a final decree or order rendered by a court regarding a lawsuit. It outlines the rights and obligations of the parties to the case. Essentially, a judgment is the decision of a court from which an appeal lies.
Arkansas Judgment Laws
The judgment laws of Arkansas are established under Tit. 16, Subtitle 5, Ch. 65 of the Arkansas Code. These statutes direct the entry, enforcement, and revival of judgments within the state.
What is Judgment Lien?
A judgment lien gives a judgment creditor the right to be paid from the proceeds of the debtor's property sale. A judgment lien in Arkansas can only be attached to real properties such as a house or land. Even if the property's ownership changes, a judgment lien in Arkansas will remain attached to the judgment debtor's property for ten years.
What is an Arkansas Summary Judgment?
A summary judgment in Arkansas is a judgment issued by a state court when there is no reason for a case to go to trial, and the plaintiff or defendant is entitled to a judgment in their favor.
The plaintiff or defendant of a lawsuit can request a summary judgment. However, it is more often the plaintiff who moves for a summary judgment. Usually, there are no triable issues of fact (i.e., no contestable issues) or the defendant's defense is insufficient.
What is A Summary Judgment Motion In Arkansas?
According to Ark. R. Civ. P. 56 (a), a plaintiff or defendant seeking to recover upon a claim, counterclaim, or cross-claim may file for summary judgment with supporting affidavits or not. The plaintiff can file a summary judgment motion once 20 days have passed from the commencement of an action or after being served with a summary judgment motion by the adverse party. Regardless, the motion must be filed no later than 45 days before any scheduled trial date. The defendant can file anytime.
Note that affidavits in support of or in opposition to a summary judgment motion must:
- Be based upon personal knowledge
- State facts admissible in evidence
- Show that affiant is able to testify to matters contained
- Have attached sworn or certified copies of all documents referred to
- Show a genuine issue of fact, rather than a mere denial by the pleadings
Once one side files a summary judgment motion, the opposing party can serve their response and supporting materials, if any, within 21 days of service. Then, the moving party may reply within 14 days following the service of the response. Unless the court states otherwise, no party shall file supporting materials after the time for serving a reply passes.
Per Ark. R. Civ. P. 56 (c)(1), the court may hold a hearing on the motion no less than seven days (or less, for a good cause shown) after service has been performed.
Arkansas Judgment Record Search
The Public CourtConnect Website of the Administrative Office of the Courts allows any member of the public to search for judgments against a person or business. Searches can be conducted with a person's name or a case number.
Also, some circuit and district courts make judgment records accessible online. For instance, judgment records of District Courts in Crawford, Faulkner, Garland, Hot Spring, and Van Buren can be searched online. At the same time, Circuit Courts in Boone, Benton, Baxter, Carrol, and Calhoun maintain judgment records online.
How Do I Look Up a Judgment In Arkansas?
When attempting to look up judgment records in Arkansas, the first step is to discover which district or circuit court heard the case and approach the clerk of that court. Court clerks are the custodians of all court records. The district court clerks and circuit court clerks can provide judgment records in paper and electronic formats to interested parties.
What Happens if You Have a Judgment Against You in Arkansas?
Any judgment issued by an Arkansas court is binding on all parties engaged in the case. As a result, anyone who loses a suit and becomes the judgment debtor will be responsible for paying damages to the winner or adhering to any injunctive order issued by the court.
When a judgment is filed against a person in Arkansas, such a person will be notified. After obtaining the notice of entry of judgment from the court, the recipient can either comply with the judgment or seek relief from it. As stated in Rule 60 of the Arkansas Rules of Civil Procedure, the court may grant relief from a judgment within 90 days of filing the motion for relief with the court clerk.
How Do I Find Out If I Have Any Judgments Against Me In Arkansas?
In Arkansas, there are few easy ways that individuals can find out if a judgment has been passed against them. The first step is to check with the court. Court clerks are the custodians of judgment records. Hence, the clerk can be contacted for judgment information.
Secondly, an individual can check their mail for outstanding judgments, as notification will be sent to the debtor after the entry of judgment. However, this might not be an effective method as mail can be lost and addresses changed.
Another way that someone can find out if there is a judgment against them in Arkansas is with the garnishment of their wages. This means that the debtor may notice the deduction of funds from their paycheck to pay off the judgment debt.
How Long Does A Judgment Stay On Your Record?
In Arkansas, judgments are only enforceable for ten years, but they are permanent court records that remain on a debtor's public record forever. Because of this, any debtor who fails to satisfy a judgment promptly is positioned to face some challenges, especially with obtaining financing, credit cards, and so on.
How To Enforce A Judgment In Arkansas
A judgment lien is one way to enforce a judgment in Arkansas. A judgment lien ensures that the person who won the judgment (the creditor) gets what is owed to them. The lien gives the creditor the authority to claim an amount of money from the proceeds made from the sale of the debtor's property.
Another way that a creditor can enforce a judgment in Arkansas is by requesting a writ of execution from the court. Following Ark. C. 16-66-103, the court may issue a writ of execution within ten days after the entry of judgment. This allows the creditor to seize and sell the debtor's property to recover the owed judgment amount. In Arkansas, all of a debtor's nonexempt real or personal property is subject to seizure by execution (Ark. C. 16-66-201).
Enforcing Foreign Judgments
Arkansas adopts the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act in Ark. C. 16-66-601 through 16-66-608. As such, any judgment, decree, or order of a United States or any other court is entitled to full faith and credit.
Therefore, any judgment creditor seeking to enforce a foreign judgment may file the following with the appropriate court:
- An authenticated copy of the foreign judgment.
- An affidavit bearing the name and last known post office address of the judgment debtor and the judgment creditor.
Afterward, the court clerk or the creditor will mail a filing notice to the judgment debtor. The notice will include the name and mailing address of the judgment creditor. If the judgment creditor has an attorney based in Arkansas, the attorney's name and address will also be communicated. This process makes the judgment enforceable in Arkansas, and the creditor can begin collection procedures.
How To Collect a Judgment In Arkansas
When an individual or business wins a judgment in Arkansas, the party can commence efforts to collect it if the losing side fails to comply with the judgment. Apart from obtaining a writ of execution to seize and sell certain real or personal properties belonging to the judgment debtor, the creditor can also garnish the debtor's wages.
To garnish wages, the creditor must obtain a writ of execution from the court and hand it to the county sheriff. With this, the sheriff will notify the debtor's employer of the unpaid obligation. An employer who receives this notice must deduct a specified sum from the employee's paycheck periodically. The funds will be delivered to the creditor until the obligation is completely paid off. In Arkansas, creditors can seize up to 25% of an individual's net earnings or the amount by which their weekly net earnings exceed 30 times the federal minimum wage, whichever is less.
What Happens if a Defendant Does Not Pay a Judgment in Arkansas
In Arkansas, when a defendant fails to pay a judgment, only negative things happen. A judgment does not just urge debtors to pay up or comply with a court ruling. It also allows creditors to take the money from debtors, even if they do not want to give it to them.
Refusing to pay a judgment in Arkansas can result in:
- Property and wage seizures: The creditor can ask the court for a writ of execution. This authorizes a law enforcement officer (such as a sheriff or city marshal) to confiscate and sell the debtor's property. For example, the creditor may take the debtor's car to an auction using the power of the judgment.
Also, a creditor may place a lien on the debtor's property to pay the judgment. This can make the debtor unable to sell their property until the judgment is paid, or if sold, proceeds from the sale will be first used to settle the debt.
- Accrued interest: A judgment accrues interest for as long as it remains active. Hence, a percentage will be added to the owed sum for each day the judgment debtor fails to settle the debt.
What Personal Property Can Be Seized in a Judgment in Arkansas?
Ark. C. 16-66-201 highlights the personal properties that can be seized from a judgment debtor upon the entry of a judgment in Arkansas. The law allows the debtor's rights and shares in the stock of a financial institution or corporation to be seized. Another personal property that can be seized is the debtor's current gold or silver coin.
Arkansas Judgment Interest Rate
According to Ark. C. 16-65-114, a judgment entered by any court in Arkansas shall bear post-judgment interest and, if applicable, prejudgment interest.
In an action on a contract, an Arkansas judgment will bear interest at the rate indicated in the contract or at a rate equal to the Federal Reserve primary credit rate when the judgment is entered plus 2%, whichever is greater.
In any other action, the judgment will bear an interest rate equal to the Federal Reserve primary credit rate when the judgment is entered plus 2%.
However, judgments entered or to be entered against a county in Arkansas on a county warrant or other evidence of county indebtedness do not bear any interest.
What is a Default Judgment?
A default judgment is a court judgment entered in favor of a plaintiff when the defendant fails to attend court or respond to a civil complaint. Typically, a default judgment will allow creditors to recover the entire amount requested in their lawsuit.
According to Ark. R. Civ. P. 55 (a), when a defendant fails to plead or otherwise defend, the court may enter a default judgment in the kind and amount prayed for by the plaintiff, provided the defendant is not an infant or incompetent.
How to File a Motion To Set Aside Default Judgment in Arkansas
In Arkansas, default judgments are issued when a defendant who is informed of a civil proceeding fails to answer on time or appear in court. Like in many states, a default judgment can be set aside in Arkansas. When this judgment is set aside, the court will grant the defendant a new trial or schedule a new trial date. The act of setting aside a default judgment is also known as "vacating a judgment."
File Motion To Vacate Judgment in Arkansas
The Arkansas Code of Civil Procedure states the circumstances under which a judge can vacate (or set aside) a judgment. According to Rule 55 (c), the court may, upon motion, vacate a judgment previously entered for the following reasons:
- Mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect
- Fraud, misrepresentation, or other misconduct
- The judgment has been discharged, released, or satisfied.
How To Remove An Abstract Of Judgment In Arkansas
Satisfying a judgment in Arkansas means paying or settling the judgment. Once a judgment is satisfied, the judgment creditor, their attorney, or an authorized agent must file a satisfaction of judgment with the court. This action releases any abstract of judgment (or lien) recorded against a debtor's real estate.
Another way to remove an abstract of judgment in Arkansas is by letting the ten-year judgment statute of limitations run out. Once this period elapses, a judgment debtor can file to remove the abstract of judgment from their property.
How Long Is a Judgment Good For In Arkansas
Arkansas judgments are enforceable for ten years. After this period elapses, further enforcement is prohibited unless the judgment is revived.
Arkansas Judgment Statute of Limitations Law
According to Ark. C. 16-65-501 (the Arkansas judgment statute of limitations law), judgments rendered by the courts in Arkansas are valid for ten years. However, judgments may be revived by filing a writ of scire facias within the ten-year period.