Attorneys Stephen Korshak and Lee Karina Dani

Enforcing judgments across state lines

On Behalf of | Oct 25, 2022 | Domestication of Foreign Judgments |

A judgment doesn’t disappear when the individual named on the order moves out of state. Regardless of their location in the U.S., court decisions adhere to full faith and credit in other states. The rule is codified in the United States Constitution and various federal and state statutes.

Simply put, a debt collector can file a lawsuit in another state, authenticating the past-due amount and subsequently domesticating the judgment in another state.

Collection options

While the judgment remains in the state where it was issued, that does not prevent other states from collecting. Florida statutes mandate that the judgments from another state be recorded in the county where the debtor resides or owns the property. Referred to as an exemplified judgment, a copy from a different state is attached with a certificate.

Enforcement provides the “foreign” court from the other state assurance that the actions are valid, following constitutional procedures, and not undermining public policy.

Multiple reasons surround a creditor pursuing enforcement from another state. Debtors often leave the state they reside in without leaving anything resembling verified assets in their former home state. A debtor can technically remain “local” while fraudulently or inadvertently having assets in another state.

Debtors have the right to file a lawsuit in another state. One obstacle is the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act (UEFJA) can provide an easier way to enforce judgments in other states. The downside is the high monetary price they are forced to pay, not to mention the complexities surrounding administrative procedures.

Options exist to pursue judgments. However, the process is complex and costly. Individuals and businesses seeking to secure what they are entitled to must balance justice with their bottom line