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Paul A Humbert Law


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Domesticate Judgment in Ft. Lauderdale

When a court in another jurisdiction issues a judgment and the debtor claims residence or holds assets located in Florida, you must domesticate the judgment to make it eligible for enforcement in Florida court. The courts refer to these “foreign judgments”. The terms foreign and domestic in regard to these judgments imply that they concern international law practice. However, it simply means any judgment ruled upon in another state.

Dealing with issues in relation to an out-of-state debtor can be a frustrating and convoluted endeavor. Nonetheless, with the right preparation and education on the matter, it can also represent a streamlined process. If you have a foreign judgment in your favor and the debtor resides in Ft. Lauderdale, or anywhere else in Florida, you can still collect the debt they owe to you.

Facing Issues with an Out of State Judgment?

When looking to execute a judgment in Ft. Lauderdale, or anywhere in Florida for that matter, a recording of the judgment must first be recorded in the Clerk of Court in the country where the debtor resides or claims the property. Once a court clerk records the judgment, they will send a notification of the filing.

Most counties in Florida stipulate that no collection activities can occur for 30 days after the initial notice has been to the debtor. For a foreign judgment to be eligible for domestication, the judgment must be ruled final and enforceable in the jurisdiction where it was issued. A judgment may not be enforceable if a court was impartial, didn’t adhere to due process, or if the court didn’t have proper jurisdiction over the case in question. Along with the filing of the judgment, the creditor, or plaintiff, must file an affidavit with the clerk. The clerk will record both the judgment and affidavit into the public record.

Potential Issues and Debtor Recourse

In addition to credit collection activities being disallowed, the 30 day period after sending a notice to the debtor is very important. During this time, the defendant has the opportunity to respond in defense to the domestication of judgment. They may choose to challenge the validity of the judgment by stipulating that the initial ruling court was in error, or that the defendant’s rights were not best served by the court, but nothing in relation to the amount of the debt, or that the debt itself is owed will be allowed into defense.

If a debtor does not file an object, the requisite rulings on the judgment become the same as if the judgment occurred in the newly domesticated judgment’s jurisdiction. If a creditor can successfully domesticate an out-of-state judgment, the debtor will face the same stipulations as a valid Florida judgment. When you domesticate a judgment in Florida, it becomes enforceable according to Florida civil law procedure.

However, somewhat of a gray area exists when considering the Statute of Limitations concerning foreign judgments in Florida. The Statute of Limitations is the potential duration of a judgment or the duration in which a creditor is able to enforce the judgment.

Domesticate an Out-of-State Judgment

Once you domesticate a judgment in Florida, it does become Florida law, but the Statute of Limitations remains the same length as it did in the judgments originally ruling jurisdiction. Florida’s Statute of Limitations is a generous 20 year period on judgments, but many states offer a significantly lower duration of as little as 4 years. When attempting to domesticate a judgment in Florida, this is important to consider so that you can remain proactive in the attempts to recover your debt.

While it may seem like domestication of a judgment is a big victory, and it is, creditors still face a substantial amount of work. After domesticating the judgment, creditors must then begin the collection process all over again.

Florida law will dictate the post-judgment process and collection proceedings over the original governing jurisdiction. It is here that the enlistment of the services of a professional debt collection attorney becomes the most apparent. In doing so, you take a vital step ensuring a high likelihood, and speedy resolution when attempting debt collection.

Have an Out-Of-State Judgment in Ft. Lauderdale?

Or possibly even an in-state judgment concerning a debtor that has moved out of state and into another jurisdiction? It is imperative that you seek out the services of a qualified and experienced Florida attorney. Our team at The Law Offices of Paul A. Humbert P.L.  have an ample amount of experience in the domestication of foreign judgments, and have been successful in achieving collection of judgments for clients in Florida, and all across the United States.

You can find an abundance of operative information referencing our law firm, as well as state domestication and enforcement of judgments on our website. If you’re an out-of-state creditor looking to domesticate a judgment in Florida, we would love to sit down with you for a free consultation. Early intervention of a capable Ft. Lauderdale area attorney can not only assure you of a smoother process but also might be vital in achieving the best possible outcome for your case.

For more information regarding the procedure to domesticate a judgment in Florida, or to receive information and guidance for enforcement of your judgment, please contact us and let us help to resolve your debtor issues.

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