domesticate foreign judgment in doral

Domesticate Foreign Judgment Florida

What is a Foreign Judgment?

A judgment is an official decision by the court. This represents the final determination of rights regarding the parties involved in a legal proceeding. When loss is suffered, the judgment may also include damages, a monetary recompense for the loss suffered. When a case originates in a court outside the state of Florida, this is what we call a foreign judgment.

Foreign judgments remain subject to a process called domestication of foreign judgment for the prevailing party to collect money on debt or enforce the judgment in the state of Florida. 

To domesticate a foreign judgment in Florida, this involves a separate litigation process and special hearing to grant the order to recognize the judgment in a Florida court. Once the court recognizes the foreign judgment, a judge can then issue a Florida Final Judgment. This means that the foreign judgment is fully enforceable in Florida, enabling a creditor to collect on the debt owed in the foreign judgment.

How Does Judgment Domestication Work in Florida?

Most creditors understand that when they obtain a money judgment from another state outside of Florida, the judgment remains transferrable to the state of Florida as a resource that enables them to pursue a debtor’s Florida assets. Unfortunately, many creditors are also uninformed about the statute of limitations to domesticate a foreign judgment in Florida, ultimately limiting the amount of time they have to collect on the judgment.

Creditors with foreign state judgments have two options to transfer and enforce their judgment in Florida:

They may begin legal action based on a foreign judgment within five years from the entry of the foreign judgment. This does not domesticate a foreign judgment in Florida. However, the creditor can file a new Florida lawsuit that replicates their foreign state judgment. This procedure results in a new Florida judgment that remains valid for up to 20 years.

The most common option available to a creditor is the domestication of a foreign judgment under Florida’s version of the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act or UEFJA.

Relying on the UEFJA, a creditor will record the foreign judgment under Florida law before providing notice to the debtor. The debtor then has 30 days to engage in limited jurisdictional defenses. Once the 30 days are up, the foreign judgment then becomes a Florida judgment.

How to Enforce Out-of-State Judgments in Florida

To collect a judgment that originated in another state, a foreign judgment, creditors must begin the process of domestication. Creditors can accomplish this by following the guidelines outlined in the Florida Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act (FEFJA).

A creditor must begin by obtaining a certified copy of the judgment from the court that originally awarded the judgment. They then record the certified copy in the office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court in any Florida county. In most cases, creditors will want to file with the county where the debtor claims assets.

The creditor will also need to file an affidavit with the clerk of court to domesticate a foreign judgment in Florida. This document states the name, social security number, and last known address for the judgment debtor. It will also outline similar information about the creditor as well.

The clerk can then notify the judgment debtor by mail that the creditor recorded the judgment and initiate the 30-day challenge period. Although this rarely occurs, the debtor has 30 days to challenge the validity of the judgment recording.

Seeking Legal Help with Domestication and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Florida

Out-of-state creditors, in addition to Florida creditors seeking to collect out-of-state judgments, can benefit from the assistance of a Florida attorney. Lawyers familiar with the FEFJA and the local court procedures can streamline a collection effort while also helping creditors avoid potential mistakes.

The Law Offices of Paul A. Humbert, P.L. help clients involved in legal disputes outside of Florida collect debts owed to them by Florida debtors. Our firm can also help creditors in Florida reclaim their rightful property from out-of-state debtors as well.

Florida businesses commonly need to domesticate a judgment in another state against suppliers, customers, and other entities. In Florida, these companies remain required by law to hire an attorney to represent them. Choose a commercial litigation attorney with the experience and tact to collect a judgment swiftly and efficiently.

To learn more about the domestication of foreign judgments in Florida and how our experienced firm can help you reclaim your debt, reach out to the Law Offices of Paul A. Humbert, P.L. today by calling (844) 448-6237.

  1.  “UEFJA Law and Legal Definition | USLegal, Inc..” Accessed 16 Nov. 2020.
  2.  “The Florida Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act: What ….” 9 Oct. 2000, Accessed 16 Nov. 2020.