Crossing state lines does not end your right to collect on a debt

On Behalf of | Aug 10, 2022 | Domestication of Foreign Judgments |

Most people who borrow money or who receive services that they are unable to pay for immediately will do what is necessary to fulfill their financial obligations. Some people will take on a second job or refinance their homes or vehicles to make good on their debts or to cover unexpected bills.

However, there are always a few people who ruin things for everyone else. There are people who will intentionally try to avoid paying what they owe to individuals or businesses. People will return collections letters unopened or refuse to answer their phones. They might move to a new home address without forwarding their mail, all in the hopes of avoiding their financial obligations.

Some people will even go so far as to cross state lines when they are subject to a judgment from a creditor. If someone who owes your company money has traveled to Florida from another state, you can still collect on what they owe you despite the new jurisdiction.

You don’t have to win a second lawsuit to collect

If you must track the debtor down, serve them with legal paperwork and then prove that they are in arrears in court a second time, it could be months before you succeed. They could very well move again before your day in court. You don’t have to secure a new judgment in Florida to collect on that debt.

You simply have to domesticate the existing judgment from another state. The Florida civil courts can domesticate foreign judgments and make them enforceable in Florida. Then, you will have the same rights, such as the right to garnish wages, that you had in the state where you previously filed your debt-related lawsuit.

How do you domesticate a judgment? 

The most important step toward domesticating a debt in Florida will be proving the validity of the judgment and the identity of the other party. Once you take those steps, the rest of the process will be relatively straightforward. Domestication is not litigation in the traditional sense, and the party that owes money will not have an opportunity to defend themselves as they would in a second debt-related lawsuit.

Learning more about your right to domesticate an out-of-state judgment can help you hold someone accountable, even if they take drastic measures to avoid paying your company.