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Enforcing Out Of State Judgments:
​What happens if someone gets a judgment against you in another state? Anyone with the filing fee can file a lawsuit; so what if someone files in a state in which you don’t live, have never done business or have never even visited? Can that judgment be enforced? What do you need to do to protect yourself? The answer lies in the Florida Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act.

You may want to hire an attorney in the other state to defend the lawsuit, presuming you even have notice of the lawsuit. It is possible that the court in the other state lacks personal jurisdiction over you if you don’t live in that state. Constitutional constraints require that a court have jurisdiction over you before it can enter a judgment against you. Jurisdiction can be acquired if you live in the state, have significant contacts with the state or the lawsuit relates to some alleged wrongdoing perpetrated within the state. You should speak with an attorney about whether the court has jurisdiction.

If a judgment is entered against you by a court in another state, that judgment is not enforceable in Florida without the judgment first being “domesticated.” Once domesticated, the out-of-state judgment is treated as though it were entered by a Florida judge. To domesticate a judgment, the person who obtained the judgment must record a certified copy of the judgment with the clerk of court in whichever Florida County the creditor desires to enforce the judgment.

The clerk will send you notice by registered mail that the judgment has been recorded. At that time, you have thirty days in which to file a lawsuit contesting the jurisdiction of the court which entered the judgment. Failure to file results in the out-of-state judgment being enforceable as though it were a Florida judgment. If you contest the jurisdiction of the other state, a Florida judge will decide the matter.

I personally represent a select number local business owners facing a wide variety of legal challenges. Referrals are always appreciated.

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