Often the question is asked as to whether one state will honor
a money judgment issued by another state. This usually occurs when a
creditor has a written contract where venue is the jurisdiction of the
creditor. The creditor files suit and obtains judgment in the venue
jurisdiction but the debtor either resides in or its’ assets are in
another jurisdiction (state). Although the Constitution of the United States
provides that each state will recognize the judicial proceedings and records
of every other state it does not mean that a judgment from one jurisdiction
will automatically be enforced in another jurisdiction.
The Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act, adopted by 42 of the 50
states, allows a foreign judgment (defined as a judgment of any state or
federal court) to be executed in another jurisdiction by presenting for
filing a copy of the judgment with the appropriate court clerk in the
debtors’ jurisdiction and then notifying the debtor that the judgment has
been filed in his jurisdiction. Once this has been accomplished the creditor
can then pursue collection of judgment by identifying assets and filing the
writ of execution as they would if the debtor resided in the jurisdiction
where judgment was awarded.
The filing of the foreign judgment in the debtors’ jurisdiction usually
requires copy of the original judgment with both judge and court clerks
signature along with a second filing with the county clerks’ signature
testifying the judgment was recorded in the jurisdiction where judgment was
obtained. Some jurisdictions
refer to this as “authentication pursuant to an Act of Congress”.
In the case where the debtors’ state does not subscribe to the Uniform
Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act, the creditor has the right to file a
new lawsuit in the debtors’ jurisdiction based on the judgment. In this
case the creditor is not required to prove his lawsuit, only that he has a
judgment and now wants the new jurisdiction to uphold it.
Some states that subscribe to the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments
Act will not permit the filing of a default judgment for enforcement in
their jurisdiction. The creditor would then have to file a new lawsuit to
enforce the judgment received in another jurisdiction.
Finally, the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act does not apply to
judgments of foreign countries. United States courts will enforce a judgment
of a foreign country if there is a treaty in place to recognize judgments of
the foreign country or if there is reciprocity. This simply means if a
foreign country will enforce a U.S. judgment in their country then we will
I wish you well.
The information provided above is for
educational purposes only and not provided as legal advice. Legal advice
should be obtained from a licensed attorney in good standing with the Bar
Association and preferably Board Certified in either Creditor Rights or