aerial photography of city during night timeIn our previous post, we discussed the rules involved with enforcing a monetary judgment here in the State of Florida. As we saw, enforcing a judgment involves many steps, and these steps all need to be achieved properly. Potential creditors and potential debtors may be curious about how foreign (i.e. out-of-state) judgments are treated under Florida law. When an out-of-state creditor obtains a judgment against a Florida resident, how is this foreign judgment regarded? As we will see, there are steps which a foreign creditor needs to take to make a foreign judgment enforceable (i.e. collectible) in Florida. But, we will also see that Florida residents can take steps to challenge the domestication of a foreign judgment, and therefore potentially block its enforceability.

In this post, we will look at the procedures for both creditors and debtors.

Steps to Domesticate a Foreign Judgment in Florida

The first step a foreign judgment creditor should do is record a certified copy of the judgment with the local court in which the debtor is located. This is necessary to establish jurisdiction over the debtor. Next, the judgment creditor needs to submit an affidavit with the local court, and the affidavit must contain specific information. The affidavit must include the debtor’s name, the debtor’s last known address, and the debtor’s social security number. The affidavit must also contain this same information for the creditor. After these steps are taken, the Florida court will mail a notice of the recording to the debtor. At that point, the judgment will become enforceable in the State of Florida in 30 calendar days.

After the judgment becomes enforceable, the creditor must take the same steps that a domestic creditor would need to take to compel payment of the judgment (if necessary). However, foreign creditors need to be aware that debtors can challenge the domestication of a foreign judgment by taking certain steps of their own.

Steps for Debtors to Challenge a Foreign Judgment

After the debtor receives the notice of recording, the debtor can file a challenge against the attempted domestication of the judgment on a number of different grounds. For one, the debtor can allege that the creditor failed to comply with all the requirements under Florida’s foreign judgment domestication statute. For instance, the debtor can allege that the affidavit was not filed properly, or didn’t contain the correct information. Alternatively, the debtor can also notify the Florida court that the foreign judgment is currently being appealed. If this happens, then the Florida court may halt the progress of the creditor’s attempt to domesticate the judgment for a certain period of time (to be defined by the court).

Finally, the debtor may also claim that the foreign court lacked jurisdiction, or the debtor may claim that he or she was not granted the opportunity to litigate the jurisdiction of the original claim. If the debtor is able to make a successful argument on either of these grounds, then the domestication attempt by the foreign creditor will be defeated.

Contact The Frazer Firm to Help Protect Your Business

If you’re an out-of-state creditor seeking to domesticate a judgment in Florida, or a Florida business facing enforcement of an out-of-state judgment, you need experienced Florida business attorneys on your side. Contact the experienced business litigation attorneys at The Frazer Firm today to learn how we can help protect your business.


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