In previous posts we have provided an overview regarding the collection process in Florida. You can access that article by clicking here. This article will explain Florida’s Enforcement of Foreign Judgment Act which is codified in Florida Statutes, chapter 55 subsections 501 through 509. This procedure is crucial for judgment creditors whether they be individuals or businesses who have obtained a favorable judgment in another state, but have now learned that the debtor (the person owing after the judgment) has moved to Florida. Luckily, the legislature has created the Florida Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act to attempt to provide for little trouble in using a foreign judgment to collect in Florida.
So here is what you need to do in Order to Record a Foreign (Out of State) Judgment in Florida:
- Obtain a copy of foreign judgment from the state in which you obtained it. Get a certified copy from the Clerk of Court. This will usually involve a minimal fee.
- Provide your local clerk of Court (the one the Florida County where the debtor now resides) with an Affidavit, signed by you and notarized, setting forth (a) the name of the debtor (b) the debtor’s social security number if known (c) the address of the debtor.* The Clerk will then mail a copy of the foreign judgment that you recorded to the debtor using the Florida Address you provided. You will need to then wait 30 days and have to pay a service charge to the clerk. Then the debtor will have 30 days in which to contest the judgment and can get a judicial review if contested properly. If you are unsure of the debtor’s new Florida address you can obtain this information from a Private Investigator, if you have no one, contact our office, we work with several very good Private Investigators for debt collection/recovery.
- Barring any formal objection from the debtor with the Court, your collection proceedings will now proceed in the same manner as a Florida collection.
For an overview of the collection process, check out our other post, A Step by Step Guide to Florida Collections. For your reference we have reproduced the relevant sections of the Florida Foreign Judgment Act below. As always, if you have any questions or a unique issue, give us a call.
Brice Zoecklein, Esq.
For your Reference, select Provisions of THE FLORIDA FOREIGN JUDGMENT ACT
55.503. Recording and status of foreign judgments
(1) A copy of any foreign judgment certified in accordance with the laws of the United States or of this state may be recorded in the office of the clerk of the circuit court of any county. The clerk shall file, record, and index the foreign judgment in the same manner as a judgment of a circuit or county court of this state. A judgment so recorded shall have the same effect and shall be subject to the same rules of civil procedure, legal and equitable defenses, and proceedings for reopening, vacating, or staying judgments, and it may be enforced, released, or satisfied, as a judgment of a circuit or county court of this state.
(2) Any person recording a foreign judgment shall pay to the clerk of the circuit court a service charge as is required for the recording of an original action demanding the relief or judgment granted in the foreign judgment.
55.505. Notice of recording; prerequisite to enforcement
(1) At the time of the recording of a foreign judgment, the judgment creditor shall make and record with the clerk of the circuit court an affidavit setting forth the name, social security number, if known, and last known post office address of the judgment debtor and of the judgment creditor.
(2) Promptly upon the recording of the foreign judgment and the affidavit, the clerk shall mail notice of the recording of the foreign judgment, by registered mail with return receipt requested, to the judgment debtor at the address given in the affidavit and shall make a note of the mailing in the docket. The notice shall include the name and post office address of the judgment creditor and of the judgment creditor’s attorney, if any, in this state. In addition, the judgment creditor may mail a notice of the recording of the judgment to the judgment debtor and may record proof of mailing with the clerk. The failure of the clerk to mail notice of recording will not affect the enforcement proceedings if proof of mailing by the judgment creditor has been recorded.
(3) No execution or other process for enforcement of a foreign judgment recorded hereunder shall issue until 30 days after the mailing of notice by the clerk and payment of a service charge of up to $42 to the clerk. When an action authorized in 55.5509(1) is filed, it acts as an automatic stay of the effect of this section.
55.507. Lien; when effective
A foreign judgment does not operate as a lien until 30 days after the mailing of notice by the clerk. When an action authorized in 55.09(1) is filed, it acts as an automatic stay of the effect of this section.
55.509. Stay of enforcement of foreign judgment
(1) If, within 30 days after the date the foreign judgment is recorded, the judgment debtor files an action contesting the jurisdiction of the court which entered the foreign judgment or the validity of the foreign judgment and records a lis pendens directed toward the foreign judgment, the court shall stay enforcement of the foreign judgment and the judgment lien upon the filing of the action by the judgment debtor.
(2) If the judgment debtor shows the circuit or county court any ground upon which enforcement of a judgment of any circuit or county court of this state would be stayed, the court shall stay enforcement of the foreign judgment for an appropriate period, upon requiring the same security for satisfaction of the judgment which is required in this state.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this blog/website is for informational purposes only and provides general information about the law but not specific advice. This information should not be used as a substitute for advice from competent legal counsel as laws change and the facts in your specific case need to be analyzed.