DOMESTICATION OF FOREIGN JUDGMENTS
The enforcement of foreign judgments process can prove burdensome to creditors. Let our domestication of foreign judgments legal team guide you by providing legal and professional advice.
Florida Statute 55.501, titled the “Florida Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act,” governs domestication of out-of-state judgments in Florida. This statute’s title is a bit misleading as “foreign” does not mean a judgment from another country – just out-of-state.
The statutory apparatus of Florida Statute §55.501, et seq. call for notice of recording the foreign judgment, including the necessity of filing an affidavit of the judgment holder’s address, and sending notice of the intent to domesticate the judgment to the judgment debtor. This notice is sent via registered mail by the clerk of court in the county of domestication, but the statute also allows the domesticating creditor to send its own notice.
This is recommended, as it will avoid later headaches in the event the clerk of court does not properly serve notice to the judgment debtor. After the notice is sent to the judgment debtor, there is a 30-day moratorium of judgment execution, which provides the judgment debtor time to file any opposition to the final domestication of the judgment in Florida.
SISTER STATE JUDGMENTS
Because judgments of sister states are afforded full faith and credit under Article IV of the Constitution, a judgment properly entered in another state will almost always be enforceable in Florida. Exceptions to this would include if the foreign judgment was entered without jurisdiction over the judgment debtor. For example a New York resident who has never been to California is sued in California and a judgment is obtained in California without notice to the New York defendant. In such an example, if the California judgment creditor attempts domestication of the judgment in Miami-Dade County, Florida (perhaps the New York resident owns a vacation home on Miami Beach the California creditor hopes to levy on) the New York resident would have an opportunity to challenge domestication of the California judgment through the procedures set forth in Florida Statute §55.509.
ENFORCEMENT OF FOREIGN JUDGMENT
If a judgment debtor believes they have grounds to contest domestication under Florida Statute §55.509, they must file an action contesting the jurisdiction of the court that entered the foreign judgment.
The debtor must also record a lis pendens directed toward the foreign judgment. This all must be done within 30 days of the clerk of court’s recording of the judgment. But this is the exception, not the rule, and the vast majority of out-of-state creditors that comply with the dictates of the Florida statutes are entitled to domestication of the judgment.
Unfortunately for the out-of-state judgment holder, congratulations are not yet in order. While successful domestication of an out-of-state judgment may feel like a victory for a creditor, the real work is just beginning.
Creditors must begin the post-judgment execution process anew after domestication. Florida statutory and case law will govern the post-judgment collections proceedings, notwithstanding the judgment’s origination in a sister state. Hiring an experienced Florida debt collection attorney is an important step in ensuring the highest likelihood of collection.
DEBT COLLECTION LAWYER
At Law Offices of Paul A. Humbert, P.L., we have vast experience domesticating out-of-state judgments and have successfully collected judgments in Florida for clients all across the United States. Across our website, you can find valuable information concerning our law firm and the judgment enforcement process.
If you are an out-of-state creditor seeking to enforce a judgment in Florida, we are happy to provide a free consultation. Early consultation with a Florida debt collection attorney will ensure a much smoother process.
The Law Offices of Paul A. Humbert, P.L. will discuss your problem with you. Our goal is to work harmoniously with our clients on their cases while developing an optimal strategy for the best possible outcome.
For more information on enforcement of foreign judgments, contact the Law Offices of Paul A. Humbert, P.L. today! We can help you achieve an optimal outcome in Florida court.
Paul is licensed to practice law in the following courts:
- Florida State Court
- Florida Southern District of Florida Federal Court
- Southern District of Florida Bankruptcy Court
- Florida Middle District of Florida Federal Court
- Middle District of Florida Bankruptcy Court
- United States Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals