Domesticate Judgment – Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Domestication of Foreign Judgments
Florida Statute 55.501, titled the “Florida Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act”, governs domestication of out-of-state judgments in Florida. The title of the statute is a bit misleading, as “foreign” does not mean a judgment from another country – just out-of-state. The statutory apparatus of §55.501, et seq. calls for recording the foreign judgment, including the necessity of filing an affidavit of the judgment holder’s address, and sending notice of the intent to domesticate the judgment to the judgment debtor.
This notice is sent via registered mail by the clerk of court in the county of domestication, but the statute also allows the domesticating creditor to send its own notice. This is recommended, as it will avoid later headaches in the event the clerk of court does not properly serve notice to the judgment debtor. After the notice is sent to the judgment debtor, there is a 30-day moratorium of judgment execution, which provides the judgment debtor time to file any opposition to the final domestication of the judgment in Florida.
Sister State Judgment
Because judgments of sister states are afforded full faith and credit under Article IV of the Constitution, a judgment properly entered in another state will almost always be enforceable in Florida. Exceptions to this would include if the foreign judgment was entered without jurisdiction over the judgment debtor. For example, a New York resident who has never been to California is sued in California and a judgment is obtained in California without notice to the New York defendant. In such an example, if the California judgment creditor attempts domestication of the judgment in Miami-Dade County, Florida (perhaps the New York resident owns a vacation home on Miami Beach the California creditor hopes to levy on) the New York resident would have an opportunity to challenge domestication of the California judgment through the procedures set forth in Florida Statute §55.509.
Enforcement Of Foreign Judgment
If a judgment debtor believes she has grounds to contest domestication under Florida Statute §55.509, she must file an action contesting the jurisdiction of the court that entered the foreign judgment. The debtor must also record a lis pendens directed toward the foreign judgment. This all must be done within 30 days of the clerk of court’s recording of the judgment. But this is the exception, not the rule, and the vast majority of out-of-state creditors that comply with the dictates of the Florida statutes are entitled to the domestication of the judgment.
Unfortunately for the out-of-state judgment holder, congratulations are not yet in order. While successful domestication of an out-of-state judgment may feel like a victory for a creditor, the real work is just beginning. Creditors must begin the post-judgment execution process anew after domestication. Florida statutory and case law will govern the post-judgment collections proceedings, notwithstanding the judgment’s origination in a sister state. Hiring an experienced debt collection lawyer in Fort Lauderdale is an important step in ensuring the highest likelihood of collection.
Debt Collection Lawyer Fort Lauderdale | The Law Offices of Paul A. Humbert, P.L.
At the Law Offices of Paul A. Humbert, P.L., we have vast experience in Domesticate Judgment – Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and domesticating out-of-state judgments and have successfully collected judgments in Florida for clients all across the United States. Across our website, you can find valuable information concerning our law firm and the judgment enforcement process. If you are an out-of-state creditor seeking to enforce a judgment in Florida, we are happy to provide a free consultation. Early consultation with a Florida debt collection attorney will ensure a much smoother process.