How to Domesticate Out-of-State Judgments in Florida
Occurrences happen when a Florida business needs to migrate a lawsuit in another jurisdiction against a supplier, customer, or business. In the event that your company wins a lawsuit, you obtain a judgment. This judgment entitles your collection of a sum of money or real property from the person or entity you sued. That sues individual or entity becomes known in the legal community as a judgment debtor.
A judgment becomes a lien levied against specific property types (real estate, etc.) in the state where you obtain the judgment. Judgments additionally entitle you to pursue this debt through varied collection efforts. This could mean property seizure as well as wage and bank account garnishment.
However, what happens if you obtain this judgment against a debtor that possesses assets in the state of Florida? Out-of-state businesses that sue Floridians or Florida businesses in their home jurisdictions experience the same issues when the need to collect judgments from assets located in Florida. Luckily, Florida law provides a resource under these circumstances.
When you enter a judgment into another state, Florida refers to them as a foreign judgment. Once the courts deem this judgment as filed in Florida, it becomes a valid Florida judgment. This entitles a creditor to the full extension of legal post-judgment collection options.
However, to collect a judgment in Miami obtained against another person or business entity in another jurisdiction, you must domesticate judgment Florida in Miami. This essentially means you bring the judgment home to the state of Florida.
You can domesticate judgment Florida in Miami by adhering to the requirements of the Florida Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act. In the legal field, this act is additionally known as the FEFJA.
Enforcing Out-of-State Judgments
This process begins by obtaining a certified copy of the judgment from the court that originally awarded you the judgment. You then must record the certified copy in the Circuit Court of any Florida county, for instance, the Miami-Dade County Clerk of Court. Nevertheless, you ordinarily want to record it in the county where the debtor holds assets that you want to seize or levy against.
You additionally need to file an affidavit with the clerk of court stating the name, social security number, in addition to the judgment debtor’s last known address. The affidavit will also provide this same information about yourself.
The clerk will then notify the judgment debtor of your attempt to domesticate foreign judgment Florida in Miami by mail. They then possess 30 days after this notice to challenge the judgment’s validity, however, this rarely occurs.
During this period, the creditor cannot begin any collections efforts to execute on the judgment until after the 30-day period is over. If the debtor does not challenge the judgment within the 30 days, the creditor is allowed to begin collection efforts including wage garnishment, and executing on the debtor’s assets.
It is important to consider that not every county in Florida imparts the same procedure regarding domesticate judgment Florida in Miami. Many simply require paying applicable fees, recording the judgment, and dispersing the notice. Nevertheless, some counties require that the credit files a case at the same time as the recorded judgment.
Regardless of the county where you attempt to file, the court will inevitably file the case if you decide to execute on the judgment. A case number is additionally necessary for the clerk of court to issue a writ of execution, attachment, and garnishment, in addition to scheduling any depositions to review the judgment debtor’s assets.
Domesticate Judgment Florida in Miami Legal Help
Once you finalize the judgment, it will remain a valid and executable Florida judgment. When you domesticate judgment Florida in Miami, this remains in effect for twenty years, or for as long as the judgment is valid in its original forum.
You can alternatively file independent actions on out-of-state judgments. However, this method poses unique additional challenges. For example, these circumstances require papers served by a process server or sheriff.
Additionally, you must commence an independent action within 5 years of the judgments entrance into the legal system. The ordinary regulations concerning Civil Procedure apply to these actions, and dissimilar to the aforementioned actions, are open to litigation.
In these cases, the creditor ordinarily files an action asking the court to recognize the foreign judgment in Florida. Unfortunately, this method normally requires more time than the statutory method.
The Law Offices of Paul A. Humbert, P.L.
If you need legal assistance to help you domesticate foreign judgment Florida in Miami, contact the Law Offices of Paul A. Humbert, P.L. today. Our legal team is composed of attorneys well-versed in the domestication of foreign judgments, as well as the court systems on both a Florida and national level.
We can help you resolve these matters in an efficient and effective manner. This enables you to begin collection activities swiftly, and legally. Our team is willing to meet with you to discuss your case while educating you on your potential options.
The Law Offices of Paul A. Humbert, P.L. wields extensive experience at domesticating foreign judgments in Florida, and all over the country. Varied business entities enlist our services to help them with their legal counsel, as well as representation in court. We ensure the optimal outcome you need in South Florida court.
Our team is driven by representing your best interests, and securing your rightful assets legally. This involves strategy development, in addition to the diligent action on your behalf.