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Domestication of a Foreign Judgment in West Palm Beach
Domestication a Foreign Judgement in Florida

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 somewhat misleading as “foreign” doesn’t refer to a judgments act from another country, just out-of-state.

The statutory requirements of §55.501, et seq. call for notice of recording the foreign judgment, in addition to the necessary entry of the judgment as an affidavit containing the judgment holder’s address, and possibly their social security number, then sending notice of the intent to domesticate the judgment to the judgment debtor.

A certified copy of this notice is sent via registered mail by the clerk of the county court in the in the jurisdiction of domestication, but the statute additionally allows the domesticating judgment creditor to send its own notice. The notice contains a copy of the original judgment, as well as a copy of the judgment currently in action.

This is recommended to avoid problems in case the circuit court doesn’t properly serve notice to the judgment debtor. When the circuit court sends a notice to the judgment debtor, there is a 30-day moratorium of the courts enforced judgment execution. This provides the judgment debtor time to file an opposition to the final domestication of the judgment in Florida.

SISTER STATE JUDGMENTS

Due to judgments of sister states receiving full faith and credit under Article IV of the Constitution, a judgment properly entered in another state is almost always enforceable in Florida.

Exceptions to this include foreign judgments entered without jurisdiction over the original 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 stated 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 receive an opportunity to challenge domestication of the enforced 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, or the validity of the judgment.

The debtor must also record a lis pendens directed toward the foreign judgment. They must do this within 30 days of the clerk of court’s recording of the judgment. However, this is the exception, not the rule, and the vast majority of out-of-state creditors that comply with the dictates of Florida statutes are entitled to the domestication of the judgment.

Unfortunately, for the out-of-state judgment holder, congratulation is 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 governs post-judgment collections proceedings, notwithstanding the judgment’s origination in a sister state. Hiring an experienced Florida debt collection attorney is an important step to ensure the highest likelihood of collection.

DEBT COLLECTION LAWYER

At the Law Offices of Paul A. Humbert, P.L., we possess vast experience in Florida enforcement of judgments and domestication out-of-state judgments. We successfully collected judgments in Florida for clients all across the United States. 

Our website displays valuable information concerning our law firm, state domesticate judgments, and the judgment state’s recognition and enforcement process. However, this information only paints a part of the picture. The assistance of an experienced attorney in cases of this nature cannot be overstated.

If you’re an out-of-state creditor seeking to enforce a judgment in Florida, our team is happy to provide a free consultation. Early consultation with a Florida debt collection attorney will ensure a much smoother process.

Each and every legal situation poses individual challenges, as well as unique strategies and solutions. When you face a legal situation, enlisting the services of an experienced attorney to help you through ideal can prove crucial.

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

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