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Enforcing Other States’ Judgments In Florida

James W. Martin

Can a New York judgment reach Florida assets? Sure. The US Constitution says every state must give full faith and credit to the judgments of every other state. So, a Florida lawyer can take that New York judgment to a Florida court and, by following a statutory procedure, domesticate the judgment so that it is a Florida judgment. Then the judgment can be enforced in Florida just like a Florida judgment.

Note: State courts have no jurisdiction beyond their borders. That’s why it’s necessary to domesticate state court judgments before enforcing them in other states.

There are ways for a defendant to contest domestication of a judgment from another state. For example, the defendant could claim that it was never served with a summons or other process in the other state lawsuit. Thus, the other state never obtained personal jurisdiction over the defendant, and the judgment is void.

And just because a judgment from another state is domesticated in Florida by a Florida lawyer does not mean that it will reach all assets of the judgment debtor. Florida has exemptions that could prevent creditors from reaching certain assets. For example, the homestead exemption keeps creditors from reaching the home of a judgment debtor, depending on the size of the lot.

Enforcing other states’ judgments in Florida is possible, can be quick, and can be done efficiently by a Florida lawyer. Florida lawyers are licensed to practice throughout the state so a Florida lawyer can domesticate another state’s judgment anywhere in Florida.

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