Satisfaction of Judgment
The importance of good records
If there is a dispute about the amount owed for a judgment, records proving who has paid for what and how much will be very important. The history of a judgment is impossible to recreate from memory. That's why it is important to keep contemporaneous records of transactions.
The court will have a copy of the judgment, and the parties should keep their copies too. The parties should also keep records of all other transactions related to the judgment. The parties should keep the receipt and/or a copy of the check when the creditor pays a cost that can be recovered from the debtor-such as attorney fees, if authorized, or the fee to apply for a writ of garnishment or a writ of execution, or the fee to serve the writ, or the fee paid to a garnishee. The parties should also keep the receipt and/or a copy of the check when the debtor or the debtor's insurance provider pays an amount toward the judgment. Similarly, the parties should keep the receipt and/or a copy of the check when a garnishee withholds wages or other money from the debtor, or when the creditor receives the proceeds of a sheriff's sale, or when the debtor forfeits bail to the creditor.
When moving to renew a judgment, the creditor will have to prove the amount due, including the amount of the judgment, the amount of post-judgment interest, the collection costs, attorney fees, if they are authorized, and the amount that the debtor has paid. When moving to satisfy a judgment, the debtor will have to prove these things. And each party with have a chance to dispute the other party's accounting. Testimony or an affidavit from the creditor or debtor is evidence of the amount due, but contemporaneous written records are more reliable.
If the parties have a contract that establishes a post-judgment interest rate, that rate will be applied to the original judgment and any renewal of it. Under Utah Code Section 15-1-4, other civil judgments bear interest at two percent more than the federal interest rate for the year in which the judgment was entered, and they keep that rate for the life of the judgment, even if the federal rate changes in the meantime. An order renewing the judgment is a new judgment, and the post-judgment interest on the new judgment will be determined by the year in which the new judgment is effective, unless there is a contract establishing a different amount. For more information on the post-judgment interest rate for a year since 1993, see our webpage on Post Judgment Interest Rates.
Effect of satisfaction
"Satisfaction of a judgment," which is governed by URCP 58B, means that the debtor has paid the entire amount of the judgment and all accumulated fees, costs and interest, or that the creditor has decided not to pursue further collection efforts. Filing a partial satisfaction with the court is permitted, but it is seldom done. Partial satisfaction means that part, but not all, of the judgment has been paid.
Satisfaction of a judgment means that the judgment is no longer a lien on the debtor's real property. The courts cannot control the actions of third parties, but usually, the fact of satisfaction is recorded by the major credit reporting agencies and included in the debtor's credit history.
There are two ways to record a satisfaction with the court: acknowledgement by the creditor; and motion by the debtor.
Acknowledgement of satisfaction by the creditor
If the debtor has paid the judgment and all accumulated fees, costs and interest, the creditor is required to file an acknowledgment of satisfaction in the court that entered the original judgment and serve a copy on the debtor. This tells the court that the case is finished. If the creditor files an acknowledgment, the court will record it without further proceedings.
If the original judgment creditor has sold or assigned the judgment to a third party, that third party steps into the shoes of the original judgment creditor for collection purposes. It is that third party who is required to file the acknowledgement.
Motion for satisfaction by the debtor
If the creditor does not file an acknowledgement of satisfaction, the debtor can file a motion for an order declaring that the judgment is satisfied. The debtor must file the motion in the court that entered the original judgment and serve a copy on the creditor. As part of the motion, the debtor must provide proof, such as receipts, statements or canceled checks, that the judgment has been paid. Because the motion is filed by the debtor, the court must give the creditor an opportunity to respond. If the motion is granted, the court will record the satisfaction. The procedures for motions are governed by URCP 7. The forms for filing a motion are in the Forms section below, but for more information about motion procedures, see our webpage on Motions.
Filing a Certificate of Satisfaction
Many times the judgment creditor will have filed a judgment entered by one court in another court or in another governmental agency, such as the county recorder. Each of those filings is an independent record of the judgment, and the judgment debtor must present proof of the satisfaction to the other courts or agencies. The debtor may need to provide to those other courts and agencies a certificate from the original court that the judgment has been satisfied. A certificate can be issued only after the satisfaction, whether by acknowledgement or motion, has been recorded in the original court.
Information about filing documents in existing cases by email
Satisfaction by Acknowledgement of the Creditor
Satisfaction by Motion of the Debtor
Forms for the Moving Party
Required forms for the moving party
- Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Order on Debtor's Motion to Declare Judgment Satisfied - PDF | Word
Optional forms for the moving party
(if the other party has disagreed with the motion and presented a new matter in their response, and the moving party wishes to respond)
(if a hearing is requested)
Forms for the Responding Party
Required forms for the opposing party
Optional forms for the opposing party
(if the opposing party agrees to the motion after it has been filed)
(if a hearing is requested)
(if the opposing party is directed to complete the order)