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Paul A Humbert Law


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Enforcement of Judgments With Debt Collection

Domesticate Judgment in Miami

Domestication is the first step in collecting a foreign judgment in Florida. The term “Foreign judgment” has connotations that it concerns international law, but in reality it is simply any judgment that comes from another jurisdiction; generally another state. 

You went to court and received judgment against a debtor but unfortunately, things don’t necessarily end there. If the debtor chooses not to pay the judgment voluntarily, there is even more work to be done. You may have to execute in pursuit of wage garnishments, levies, or other asset acquisition or liquidation. 

Especially with enough informational evidence on your side. One a judgment has been domesticated into the correct state, the judgment will have the same effects and stipulations as if it had occurred in your jurisdiction

Enforcement and Regulation of Judgment Domestication

Enforcing a foreign judgment can be a major burden for creditors looking to obtain justice or assistance in obtaining lost assets. Some states require a creditor to essentially start over and file an entire new lawsuit within the new jurisdiction they wish to domesticate the judgment too. In order to domesticate judgment in Florida, simply follow the guidelines of the Florida Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act or FEFJA. The FEFJA allows creditors to obtain a judgment in a different state simply by providing proof of the judgment, the last known address of the debtor and creditor, and ensuring all necessary fees are paid.

The FEFJA makes it much quicker and costs effective to domesticate a judgment in Florida versus filing an entirely separate legal action.

How to Domesticate a Judgment in Florida

The first step is obtaining a certified copy of the judgment from the courts that initially awarded the judgment to you, and then record a certified copy in the office of any Florida county Clerk of the Circuit Court. It is generally prudent to record the document in the county in which the assets you are attempting to seize are located. This is also the time to file an affidavit with the courts stating the name, and last known residence of the debtor, and your information as well. The clerk then will let the debtor know by mail of the recorded judgment, and provide 30 days to challenge the validity.

If a debtor chooses to respond to the notice, they may request a hearing to dispute the reputability and timelines of the judgment. However, a debtor is restricted to standard procedural defenses. What this means is that the defense can demonstrate that the original court lacked jurisdiction, or that the interests of the debtor were not originally properly served by the court. Any defense outside of that sort of scenario is not permissible due to the fact that a previous court has already ruled on the case’s merits. The debtor cannot dispute the actual debt owed or the judgment.   

If a debtor elects not to respond in a timely manner, once the judgment has been filed, it holds the same weight and ramifications as one issued by a Florida court. After the 30 day response period, the judgment then becomes a lien against the debtor’s real estate and allows you to follow Florida regulated debt collection procedures.

How to Speed Up the Process

When seeking to have as quick a resolution as possible, it is recommended to contact an attorney or the court to define the exact requirements for filing in the particular state. Both out-of-state creditors seeking to collect a judgment against a Florida debtor, and local businesses seeking to collect an out-of-state judgment on a debtor’s assets will without question benefit from the enlistment of a qualified and professional Florida Attorney. A lawyer who has familiarity with the FEFJA and with the procedures and processes followed by a local Miami and South Florida courts can expedite collection efforts. Having the stead of an experienced litigation lawyer on your side cannot be understated. A legal professional will help you every step of the way to domesticate your judgment and ensure that any potential mistakes are eliminated that may be made when attempting to represent yourself.

Having the debtor’s current and correct address will allow your attorney to prepare the necessary documents quickly, and more efficiently, as with any legal litigation. Any information you can provide regarding the debtor’s assets will make the enforcement of the judgment more beneficial in the end.

A Qualified Law Firm

Our Miami based firm has a network of practicing attorneys that can assist you in domesticating your judgment from another district. Our firm has established themselves in the South Florida area as a go team in the field of creditor rights and debt collection. Our variety of clients range from banks both on the national and regional levels, private lenders, debt buyers, and several other businesses in Miami all turn to our team for our expert advice and guidance on some of their most complicated legal matters. Offering experience in a magnitude of legal experience in business and credit litigation, the Law Offices of Paul A. Humbert, P.L. can help domesticate a judgment in Florida in a timely and efficient process for you. Contact us today.

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