Domesticate Judgment in West Palm Beach
For quite a long time, Florida has been referred to in an unflattering fashion as an asylum for debtors, due to the many exemptions eligible to Florida debtors. There are several Florida statutes and procedures to assist assiduous creditors in recovering their judgment. The issue of a collection is an arduous one because even after going to trial and obtaining a judgment in favor of the creditor, the work towards obtaining a resolution is only half done. If there are no assets a debtor is willing to use in satisfying the judgment, and no insurance coverage, there are additional steps to take in order to collect on the judgment.
The procedures to domesticate a judgment in Florida against a debtor’s assets are contained within the Florida Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act, or FEFJA. The word foreign used in the FEFJA refers to a judgment secured by a creditor in any state in the United States other than Florida. It is not in reference to what we traditionally view as foreign; i.e. a foreign country or citizen.
Benefits and Process of the FEFJA
Before there was a FEFJA, a creditor dealing with an out of state judgment had to file an entirely separate lawsuit in order to attempt to domesticate a judgment in Florida. The judgment then would have to be recorded as a Florida specific judgment in order to create a lien on the debtor’s assets.
These processes and procedures are now consolidated and optimized under the FEFJA. Creditors now only need to submit a certified copy of the judgment with the clerk of the circuit court associated with the location of where the debtor resides or holds assets. This, along with an affidavit stating the names and last known addresses of both the debtor and the creditor are submitted prior to attempting to obtain to domesticate judgment. Once these documents are recorded with the court, the judgment holds the same ramifications as a Florida judgment. For instance, when trying to domesticate the judgment in West Palm Beach from a location in another state, for this purpose let’s say Atlanta, Georgia, the original judgment made in the Atlanta court would now be held under the stipulations that would be ruled as if the judgment was completed in West Palm Beach.
Under the FEFJA, a debtor may attempt to obtain a stay of enforcement regarding the original judgment and a judgment lien within 30 days of the documents being recorded with the courts. This is done by filing an action contesting either the jurisdiction or validity of the ruling considering the original judgment; or through the filing of a lis pendens in reference to the foreign judgment. A lis pendens is a written notice essentially secures the right of property to the defendant should they prevail in the case. This is relatively rare, however. Generally speaking, the majority of creditors that comply with Florida statutes are normally entitled to a domestication of the judgment.
The debtor has this right of defense versus the judgment domestication. However, nothing from the original case concerning the amount of debtor has been previously ruled upon in the previous is allowed to be used in defense of the judgment.
Unfortunately even after the judgment is successfully domesticated, the work is not complete in fully resolving the judgment. The out of state judgment holder must begin the post-judgment process all over again after domestication. Local Florida statutory and case law rules over the post-judgment collection process of the judgment’s original jurisdiction.
The Assistance of a Qualified Legal Professional
It is recommended as the first step in obtaining an efficient and quick resolve in judgment domestication, that you enlist the services of a qualified South Florida attorney or the court in the jurisdiction where the debtor holds assets or claims residence. When contacting the court, acquire the information defining the requirement and stipulations concerning filing in that Florida jurisdiction.
Whether you’re an out of state creditor looking to domesticate a judgment in Florida, or a local company seeking to collect an out of state judgment, a law firm with the experience and know-how to navigate the legal bureaucracy to domesticate judgment in Florida is very important, regardless if they’re handling your case, or providing necessary information to set you on the correct path to obtaining your domestication.
Hiring a professional and experienced West Palm Beach debt collection attorney is vital; not only assisting in the high likelihood of collection on a judgment but also in ensuring a quick and efficient resolution. A lawyer familiar with the FEFJA, as well as the processes followed by South Florida courts can expedite your collection efforts, ensuring that any potential mistakes, pitfalls, or roadblocks are avoided.
The team at the Law Offices of Paul A. Humbert, P.L., has the experience necessary to domesticate a judgment in Florida, and have successfully collected judgments in Florida for clients based all over the country. Contained on our website, there is a variety of valuable information in relation to our law firm, state domestication information, and the processes and information concerning judgment enforcement processes. If you’re an out of state creditor seeking enforcement of a judgment in West Palm Beach, or anywhere in Florida, we are elated to provide you with a free consultation. Early intervention of a Florida debt collection attorney is vital in ensuring a smooth and fast resolution to your judgment domestication and debt collection legal issues. Contact us today to speak with one of our qualified legal professionals.