Having to take a client to court to get the money you’re due is an infuriating experience since you probably had good faith that you would get the money you were due. One issue that some businesses come across when they need to collect is that the other party doesn’t live in the same state as the court that made the judgment. This makes it a little more difficult to collect the judgment.
The Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgements Act (UEFJA) establishes a way for you to get what you’re due. Despite the term “foreign” in the name, this act doesn’t have anything to do with another country. Instead, it means that the judgment comes from another state.
How does the UEFJA work?
The first thing that you’ll do if you need to collect on the judgment in Florida is to find out in what jurisdiction the person lives. You’ll have to file a domestication petition in that jurisdiction. The process isn’t that complex but it’s imperative that you ensure everything is filled out properly when you file for the domestication. There’s also a time limit that you must abide by when you’re filing so act quickly to get the petition filed.
Once you file the petition, the debtor will receive a notification of it. They’ll have a chance to respond to your petition. This doesn’t mean that they can dispute the judgment. Instead, they can only question procedural issues like claiming that the petition wasn’t filed in a timely manner.
If the debtor doesn’t respond to the notification, the judgement is entered as enforceable in that jurisdiction. This opens up the possibility of enforcement via attachment, garnishment or levy. Some debtors might pay the debt once you file for the domestication since they’ll know you’re serious about collecting.
One of the keys to the UEFJA is that the judgment from other court must be one that can be legally enforced. Your attorney can help you to determine if this is the case for your judgment. Since time is of the essence in these cases, it’s best to get started quickly if other collection methods are proving worthless.