If you hold or have been awarded a judgment that was issued in another state and your debtor is located in Florida or has assets, either real or personal property located in Florida, our law firm has the experience and knowledge to help you domesticate and execute on the foreign or “sister state” judgment.
The first step that needs to be taken is having the out-of-state judgment domesticated. By domesticating a judgment, it is made enforceable in Florida. All remedies available to collect Florida judgments are now available to the creditor.
Florida statutory law requires that an exemplified out-of-state judgment first be recorded in the county in which the debtor resides and/or has any property. An exemplified judgment is a copy of a judgment from another state with a certificate attached. The purpose of the certificate and signatures is to validate and authenticate that foreign judgment.
Once the judgment is recorded in the proper county, and the clerk of court sends notice to the debtor advising that an out-of-state judgment has been recorded, the creditor may not begin any collections efforts to execute on the judgment until 30 days after the notice to the debtor has been mailed out by the clerk of court. Florida statutory law gives the debtor that thirty (30) day window in which to file an action challenging the validity of the judgment. If no such action is filed within the thirty (30) days, the creditor is free to begin collection efforts, including garnishing wages or bank accounts and executing on assets.
All of the 67 counties in Florida have similar but not the same procedure when it comes to recording an out-of-state judgment. Most only require the fee to record the judgment and send out the notice. However, some counties do require that a case be filed at the same time the judgment is recorded. A case will ultimately be filed; however, in the event, the creditor chooses to execute on the judgment. A case number is necessary for the clerk of the court to issue writs of execution, attachment, and garnishment as well as for the scheduling of any depositions to review a debtor’s assets.
A creditor may also file a lawsuit on the foreign judgment and forego the statutory method to domesticate the foreign judgment. In that case, the creditor files an action and asks the court to recognize the foreign judgment in Florida. However, this method usually takes more time than the statutory method. With the statutory method to domesticate a judgment, the creditor may begin collections thirty (30) days after the notice is mailed to the debtor.
In summary, if you hold or have been awarded a judgment that was issued in another state and your debtor is located in Florida or has assets, either real or personal property located in Florida, our law firm can help you domesticate and execute on the foreign or “sister state” judgment. We have the experience and knowledge to navigate the process of recording an out-of-state judgment, contesting any exemptions or disputes that may arise, and executing on the
judgment. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you collect on your foreign judgment in Florida.