Domestication of Foreign Judgments Florida
How do Creditors Domesticate a Foreign Judgment in Florida?
When a creditor successfully obtains a judgment in another state than where the debtor claims assets, collection on the debt from outside of this jurisdiction often proves very challenging.
For example, a creditor in a New York court obtains a judgment against a debtor who owes them money. The debtor then moves to Florida, leaving the debtor to find other avenues that enable them to reclaim their debt.
Creditors must either file a separate lawsuit with a Florida court, or they can begin what we call domestication of foreign judgments with a Florida Clerk of Court. The latter option essentially means filing the original lawsuit with a Florida court to make it valid in the state of Florida, bearing all the same legal weight and stipulations as a Florida money judgment.
We live in a mobile society today. Many people move from place to place every few years, and some move even more often than that. Career opportunities and some jobs can move their employees, people may move in with a new spouse. Sometimes, people just need a change in their environment or a location with better education opportunities for children. Debtors are no exception.
What is the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act (UEFJA)?
The Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act outlines the procedure for the domestication of foreign judgments. From a U.S. state or territory outside of Florida. Florida’s adoption of the act is called the Florida Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act, or FEFJA.
Florida enacted the FEFJA in 1984 to create an easy, streamlined process to domesticate foreign judgments. Under this legislation, Florida courts provide out-of-state judgments recognition. This enables a creditor’s money judgment the full faith and credit as a Florida judgment.
Judgment domestication is relatively straightforward. However, it is crucial for success to follow every minute step in the protocol.
How to Domesticate a Foreign Judgment
Petitioners for the domestication of a foreign judgment must first obtain a certified copy of the judgment from the originating state or county. They can then prepare and submit a notarized affidavit to the Clerk of the Circuit Court.
This document will contain information on the debtor such as their name, address, and social security number. It will additionally outline the same information for the creditor as well. Once filed, the Clerk of Court will then notify the debtor of the recording, giving them thirty days to challenge the creditor action.
If the debtor chooses not to respond or cannot respond within this period, the court will grant the domestication of the foreign judgment to the petitioner as if the case had proceeded as normal. This means the petitioner can then begin debt collection activities backed by Florida law the same as a judgment originating from a Florida court.
Nonetheless, the debtor cannot challenge any particular issues brought about and ruled upon in the original case. This leaves them with relatively few recourses outside of challenging the original court’s jurisdiction or outlining the misrepresentation of their interests by the original court.
Domestication of Foreign Judgments Florida | The Law Offices of Paul A. Humbert, P.L.
In a situation where a creditor requires judgment domestication into the state of Florida, or a Florida company needs to collect from a debtor claiming assets in another jurisdiction, a skilled commercial litigation attorney remains essential for a positive outcome.
This legal specialist can evaluate the out-of-state judgment to determine the application of the Act. They will additionally manage and handle any preliminary steps outline by the UEFJA to avoid any potential mistakes or errors.
Judgment creditors should not record and file an affidavit and foreign judgment with any Florida county. Although this is entirely legal and something the creditor could choose to do, it can create a multitude of errors and pitfalls, further delaying and jeopardizing the debt collection process.
Instead, a qualified legal firm can help the creditor determine where a debtor claims assets, filing the affidavit and domestication notification with a Clerk of Court within that jurisdiction. Similarly, foreign money judgments that are partially satisfied may not be recognized by a Florida court either.
By enlisting a professional, experienced litigation firm like our team from the Law Offices of Paul A. Humbert, P.L., creditors gain a partner in their debt collection proceedings. Our attorneys specialize in the domestication of foreign judgments in Florida, as well as enforcing foreign judgments. This involves taking the necessary precautions to ensure the recognition of foreign judgments.
To learn more about how our firm can help you domesticate a foreign judgment or collect on a debt from assets in another state, reach out to our specialists today at (844) 448-6237 for a free consultation.
- “UEFJA Law and Legal Definition | USLegal, Inc..” https://definitions.uslegal.com/u/u-e-f-j-a/. Accessed 16 Nov. 2020.
- “The Florida Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act: What ….” 9 Oct. 2000, https://www.floridabar.org/the-florida-bar-journal/the-florida-enforcement-of-foreign-judgments-act-what-time-limit-applies/. Accessed 16 Nov. 2020.