Domesticate Judgment in Florida

Domesticate Judgment in Florida

How Can You Domesticate an Out-of-State Judgment?

In some legal scenarios, a Florida business may need to bring a lawsuit or judgment in another state against another party. If the business wins the lawsuit, they obtain a judgment. This entitles them to collect on the judgment debt from the other party they sued. The opposing party in this scenario is what we call a  judgment debtor”.

Once final, a judgment essentially becomes a lien on specific property types in the state where the plaintiff obtained the judgment. A judgment may additionally entitle this plaintiff to pursue a variety of different collections efforts in the state where the court granted the judgment. 

Some collections methods might include property seizure and garnishing wages or bank accounts.

However, what can the business in the scenario above do when obtaining a judgment in another state against a judgment debtor that has assets in Florida? Out-of-state businesses that sue Floridians or other Florida-based businesses in their home state may experience similar problems when they need to collect on a judgment debt from assets located in Florida.

Fortunately, Florida provides a legal solution to this problem called the domestication of foreign judgments. To domesticate a judgment in Florida, Florida law outlines a set of standard procedures in the Florida Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act. Read on to learn more.

Enforcing Foreign Judgments in Florida | The Law Offices of Paul A. Humbert, P.L.

To collect on a judgment obtained in another state (“foreign” judgment) against another person or business with assets in Florida, the first step is to domesticate the judgment in Florida. This essentially means bringing the judgment home to the state of Florida legal system.

To domesticate a judgment in Florida, any pursuing party must follow the requirements outlined by the aforementioned Florida Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act  (FEFJA).

These procedural processes begin by obtaining a certified copy of the judgment from the court that originally awarded the judgment. Then, the office of the circuit court in any Florida county can record this certified copy. In most scenarios, the pursuing party will want to record the judgment in the country where the debtor’s assets reside.

The pursuing party will also need to file an affidavit with the clerk of court as well. This document will outline the judgment debtors name, social security number when available, and last known address. It will also provide the same information about the filer as well.

The clerk can then notify the judgment debtor by mail regarding the recorded judgment. The debtor then has 30 days after the provided notice to challenge the validity of this judgment.

Once the clerk records the judgment, this now will impose the same effects as a judgment recorded by a Florida court. Thirty days after recording, the judgment becomes a lien against the debtor’s Florida assets. 

Legal Assistance | Domestication of Foreign Judgments in Florida

Both out-of-state creditors attempting to collect on a judgment against a Florida-based debtor and Florida business entities seeking collection on out-of-state judgments from Florida-based assets can benefit from securing a domesticating foreign judgments attorney practicing in the Florida jurisdiction.

Any pursuing creditor will want to find an attorney that maintains up-to-date familiarity with judgment enforcement, domestication law, and the FEFJA. This includes unique procedures followed by local courts that can streamline the overall collection efforts while helping the creditor to avoid mistakes or pitfalls that can occur when attempting to domesticate a judgment in Florida on their own.

Domesticating Foreign Judgments Lawyer | The Law Offices of Paul A. Humbert, P.L.

Domestication of foreign judgments within the United States and its territories is sometimes referred to as “sister state” judgments. These remain based on the Full Faith and Credit Clause as outlined by the U.S. Constitution. This enables judgment creditors to domesticate and enforce a judgment in another jurisdiction with the full faith and credit as the original ruling jurisdiction.

When attempting to domesticate a judgment in Florida, a creditor must seek out adequate legal representation to achieve the best possible outcome swiftly and efficiently.

The Law Offices of Paul A. Humbert, P.L., and our attorneys have the requisite knowledge and experience in domesticating foreign judgments into Florida as well as assisting Florida businesses and creditors with pursuing debtor assets in other states for success.

To learn more about our firm and what we can do to help you with your out-of-state judgment domestication, contact our professional and friendly firm today.

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  2.  “Judgment Lien – Division of Corporations – Florida Department ….” Accessed 11 Jun. 2020.
  3.  “Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act – Statutes & Constitution ….” Accessed 11 Jun. 2020.
  4.  “The 2019 Florida Statutes – Statutes & Constitution :View ….” Accessed 11 Jun. 2020.
  5.  “The Florida Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act: What ….” 9 Oct. 2000, Accessed 11 Jun. 2020.
  6.  “Florida Clerks of Court Offices | State of Florida.” Accessed 11 Jun. 2020.
  7.  “Full Faith and Credit Clause – Legal Dictionary – The Free ….” Accessed 11 Jun. 2020.