Attorneys Stephen Korshak and Lee Karina Dani

What does it take to domesticate a debt judgment in Florida?

On Behalf of | Jun 21, 2024 | Collections |

People move to Florida for all kinds of reasons. Many older adults move to the Sunshine State to enjoy their golden years in a pleasant environment. Professionals come to Florida in pursuit of competitive job offers. There are also some people who enter Florida specifically because of issues they have had in another state.

Some people relocate across state lines in a desperate attempt to avoid personal financial responsibility for their debts. Creditors who know where someone lives can send letters can make regular collection phone calls. They can also serve someone with paperwork for a lawsuit to collect on a debt. A successful creditor lawsuit can lead to wage garnishment or a lien against personal property.

Someone who lost a lawsuit brought by a creditor might try to avoid collection efforts by moving to another state. Creditors may then need to domesticate that out-of-state judgment in Florida. What is necessary for successful judgment domestication?

Domestication is a straightforward process

State law in Florida makes it clear that judgments from other states can be valid here as well. Creditors hoping to enforce a judgment issued in another state typically need a copy of the original judgment. They may also want to provide proof that the debtor now lives in Florida.

It is usually not necessary for the courts to review the original debt in depth, but having documentation related to the debt that led to the lawsuit initially might also be beneficial. After a judge affirms that the jurisdiction is appropriate and the original debt judgment is valid, they can enter an order domesticating the judgment from another state.

That domestication order allows the creditor to enforce the judgment in Florida the same way they could in the state that initially issued the judgment. The creditor can proceed with an attempt at wage garnishment or other efforts to collect on the debt. Domestication is often faster and more effective than re-litigating. It requires less time in court and gives the debtor who has already fled once less of an opportunity to avoid enforcement efforts.

Exploring legal debt collection options such a judgment domestication can be beneficial for frustrated creditors who have traced an uncooperative debtor to Florida. Domestication can be a useful solution for those frustrated by someone’s refusal to pay even after a court judgment in favor of a creditor has been handed down.