How Do I... ? And Other Frequently Asked Questions

  • For a minor?
  • For an adult without children?
  • For an adult with a minor child?
  • For a family?

See: Law Library Resource Center

Justice courts have exclusive jurisdiction or the authority to hear all civil actions when the amount involved, exclusive of interest, costs and awarded attorneys' fees (where authorized by law), is $10,000 or less.

The Superior Court has general jurisdiction, including civil proceedings where the amount involved exceeds $10,000.

For all other cases that Superior Court accepts, please visit the Clerk of Superior Court's Office and Arizona Supreme Court

A case may be assigned to a Judge or a Commissioner, and the assignment may change depending on the case status or procedure.

Judges are assigned to the following matters:

  • Temporary Restraining Orders
  • Orders to Show Cause
  • Pretrial Conferences
  • Trials
  • Any dispositive motions, such as but not limited to, summary judgments, placement on the inactive calendar, motions to dismiss. 

    See the Judicial Branch of Arizona, Maricopa County docket

Commissioners are assigned to the following matters:

  • Judgment Debtor Exams
  • Changes of Names
  • Forcible Detainers
  • Garnishments
  • Defaults
  • Injunctions Against Harassment
  • Orders of Continuing Lien
  • Amended Marriage License
  • Amended Birth Certificates

In the Court's online web page, open the Case Information page. Then, click on Civil Cases. In the upper right hand corner, under "JO", the Judicial Officer's name will be visible.

The common practice is to use a registered private process server or the sheriff to serve a summons or complaint. In most instances a fee will be charge for the service. The Court cannot recommend the name of a process server.

  • If you are a corporation, the law requires that the corporation be represented by an attorney.
  • If you an individual, you may be represented by an attorney or you may represent yourself. If you represent yourself, you will be responsible to know and follow the Rules of Court. Please check the Arizona Rules of Court as to how to proceed with your case. Generally, a person must "appear" by filing a "notice of appearance" with the court and also defend [known as "answer" the complaint] within 20 days (in state) and 30 days (out of state).

    Arizona Supreme Court rules
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is an umbrella term for a full range of dispute resolution methods, both private and court-connected, designed to help parties resolve their conflicts. In the courts of Maricopa County, ADR supports a wide range of alternative programs to assist parties in settling pending court disputes without resorting to trial.
  • Arbitration is a procedure in which a dispute is submitted, by agreement of the parties, to one or more arbitrators who make a binding decision on the dispute. In choosing arbitration, the parties opt for a private dispute resolution procedure instead of going to court. Arbitration can be chosen for matters which only involve money, the amount of which does not exceed $50,000.


Please remember that all cases may present a variety of issues. The Court attempts to handle each consistently based upon the issues presented.

A case assigned to arbitration: Arbitration Flow Chart

A case not assigned to arbitration: Non-Arbitration Flow Chart

Please see the Glossary of Common Terms. This glossary provides definitions for many terms.

Pursuant to Arizona Supreme Court's Administrative Orders, generally all documents must be filed electronically. The Administrative Order recognizes an exception for Civil Court Commissioner Default Packets and Garnishment packets. The documents must be filed electronically, but the packets containing proof of filing of the documents must be submitted to the civil commissioner's divisions.

A hearing should be scheduled within ten business days of receiving the objection/request for hearing.

No - the wages will be held until your employer receives an order from the Court.

Garnished wages are held by the garnishee until disbursed.

Generally, the withholding of the wages, known as the garnishment will continue until an Order stopping or reducing the amount of the garnishment is signed by the Court.



A Party may within ten (10) days after receipt of the answer, file a written objection and request for hearing with the Clerk of the Superior Court. A.R.S. §12-1580 (A).

The clerk of the Maricopa County Superior Court will not enter separate Entry of Default, even if one is submitted with the Application for Entry of Default; it considers the filing of the application sufficient to constitute entry of default which will become effective ten (10) days thereafter.





A judicial officer will not sign an Entry of Default. Further, the Clerk of the Maricopa County Superior Court will not enter a separate Entry of Default, even if one is submitted with the Application for Entry of Default; the default becomes effective ten (10) days after the application is properly submitted to the court.


Generally, if the employer is still holding the funds and has not yet dispersed them to the creditor, you will receive the excess.


 Civil Presiding Judge
Danielle Viola


Luke Emerson
Civil Department Administrator
Contact the Civil Department

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