Domesticate an Out of State Judgment in Florida

Domesticate Judgment in Florida

Domesticating an Out of State Judgment in Florida

Florida businesses may need to bring a lawsuit originating in another state against a supplier, customer, or other entity. If the business wins the lawsuit, they obtain a judgment. This judgment entitles the business to collect a specified sum of money or property from the entity the company sued, also known as a “judgment debtor.”

In most cases, the judgment becomes a lien on types of property in the jurisdiction where the business obtained the judgment. This ruling additionally entitles the business to pursue collection efforts, including garnishing wages or bank accounts that a judgment debtor keeps. However, they must claim these assets in the state where the court granted the judgment.

Consequently, what can a creditor do when they obtain a judgment in another state against the judgment debtor that claims assets in the state of Florida? Out-of-state businesses may sue Floridians, or Florida-based corporations may experience issues when attempting to collect judgments from assets located in Florida. 

The good news is that Florida law provides a solution to this issue. Lenders, creditors, i.e. the suing party, may domesticate the out-of-state judgment in Florida.

Enforcing Out-of-State Judgments

For a lender or creditor to collect on a judgment in another state against an entity with Florida assets, they must domesticate the out-of-state judgment in Florida. This essentially means bringing the judgment here to the state of Florida.

The creditor may domesticate the judgment from another state by following requirements outlined in the Florida Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act, also called the FEFJA. Foreign in the case of the FEFJA refers to any state or jurisdiction in the United States outside Florida.

Creditors can begin domesticating the judgment by obtaining a certified copy of the out-of-state judgment. The court that initially awarded the judgment can provide the certified copy. Then, the creditor must record the certified copy in the office of the clerk of the circuit court in any Florida county. Often, creditors will want to record it in the county where they attempt to seize the judgment debtor’s assets.

Creditors will additionally need to file an affidavit with the clerk stating the name, social security number, and last known address of the judgment debtor. They must fill out as much of the information on the affidavit as possible. The affidavit should additionally contain the same information about the creditor as well.

30-Day Response Period After Notice

The clerk will notify the judgment debtor by mail that the creditor files to domesticate the out-of-state judgment in Florida. The judgment debtor will then have 30 days after the court disperses the notice to challenge the validity of the judgment (something that rarely occurs).

If a judgment debtor does not respond within this 30-day window, a creditor is free to begin collecting and executing on the debtor’s assets.

Once the court records the judgment, it will hold the same legal weight and ramifications as a judgment issued by a Florida court. Thirty days after the clerk records the judgment, it can become a lien against a judgment debtor’s wages, real estate, property, etc.

A recorded judgment additionally enables the creditor to follow standard Florida debt collection procedures. This might include wage garnishment or levying a judgment debtor’s assets against what they owe.

Creditors may additionally file a lawsuit on a foreign judgment, forgoing the statutory method to domesticate an out-of-state judgment in Florida. In this instance, a creditor may file an action asking the court to recognize a foreign judgment in Florida. Nevertheless, this method takes much more time than domesticating under the statutory method.

Domesticate an Out-of-State Judgment in Florida | The Law Offices of Paul A. Humbert, P.L.

For plaintiffs, creditors, lenders, etc., that need assistance with a court judgment, seeking consultation with a skilled and knowledgeable attorney remains crucial to obtaining a positive outcome. Attorneys like ours from the Law Offices of Paul A. Humbert, P.L. can simplify the enforcement process when possible, guiding their client through all the potential outcomes.

Attorneys additionally work to protect the rights of their clients. This includes assisting creditors in reclaiming their rightful property under the full extent of the law. Representation includes and can extend to negotiation and litigation in court if necessary.

To learn more on how to domesticate an out-of-state judgment in Florida, reach out to our professional attorneys from the Law Offices of Paul A. Humbert, P.L. today!

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