Domestication of Foreign Judgments or Sister State Judgments

Collecting a money judgment becomes a bit more complicated if the judgment debtor’s assets are located in a different state other than where the judgment was awarded. In such a case the judgment has a status known as a “foreign judgment” in the eyes of any other state outside of the state of the original judgment award. With a few exceptions, in order to collect or enforce a money judgment it is necessary to file the judgment in the other state where the debtor’s assets are located. This process is known as the domestication of foreign judgments or sister state judgments.

Application for domesticating a foreign judgment must be made in accordance with the procedures of the state where you want to domesticate your out of state judgment. All states have their own statutes and rules on how this works. It can be a fairly simple issue to tackle in some states. Other states are more involved. In some states you will be required to essentially open a whole new case.

You may find it more difficult to domesticate a default judgment. In some jurisdictions it may be impossible to accomplish a simple domestication of a default judgment. Generally the easiest type of judgment to pursue outside of the state where it was rendered would be a court judgment for child support. Thank goodness. This is how it ought to be. If you apply to domesticate a sister state judgment and the court approves of the domestication, you are free to pursue enforcing your judgment in the new state. You will then be operating under the laws and rules of the new state as you continue to pursuecollecting your money award.

If you own a money judgment and the judgment debtor or his executable assets are discovered to be located in another state, you will want to read and become familiar with the procedures for domestication of your judgment into the other state.

If you are not sure what constitutes a foreign judgment, click on this link to read an article we published describing what foreign judgments are.

Once you domesticate your judgment into another state, you essentially have two judgments against your debtor. You may continue to pursue collecting your original court judgment in the original state. At the same time you are free to attempt to enforce your newly domesticated judgment in the second state. You can collect from the judgment debtor’s assets in both states simultaneously.

You won’t be allowed to collect the full judgment money in both states. Take this example to illustrate what we mean. Suppose you are owed $25,000 for your judgment in the original state of Kansas, and you domesticate your judgment into the state of Tennessee. If you collect $25,000 from the Tennessee assets, you cannot also collect $25,000 from Kansas assets. You are limited to collecting the original judgment award of $25,000 plus the accrued interest and reimbursable expenses from the combined assets in both states. This makes it possible to collect up to the entire amount from either state. Any excess collected must be returned to the judgment debtor.

Once you collect enough money to satisfy the judgment debt, you must then file anAcknowledgement of Satisfaction of Judgment Form with the courts in both jurisdictions. We hope you now see how domestication of foreign judgments or sister state judgments can give you more options to collect your judgment money.

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Domestication of Foreign Judgments or Sister State Judgments

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