Receiving a court decision in your favor is often just the first judicial step in obtaining compensation. Unless your judgment debtor willingly pays you, you will need to resort to other judicial measures to receive payment of damages. To avoid the situation of a defendant moving to another state to avoid judgment debts, almost all states have adopted the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act (UEFJA), which provides a uniform process for registering foreign judgments in state courts throughout the United States.
Obtain an exemplified record of your judgment from the court in the first state issuing the judgment. An exemplified record of judgment is an official record stating the identity of the judgment creditor, judgment debtor and the amount owed. Contact the clerk of court for the court issuing the judgment to find out the procedure for obtaining an exemplified record. While the cost of obtaining an exemplified record varies by court, it usually costs between $10 and $35.
Contact the clerk of court for the second state where your judgment debtor now resides or owns property to obtain foreign judgment registration forms. Under the UEFJA, a state court must use the same procedures for enforcing domestic and foreign judgments. However, the forms required for enforcing a judgment vary by state. The clerk of court for the second state will be able to provide you with the forms needed to register your foreign judgment.
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Fill out the foreign judgment registration forms. You will need to provide your address and the last known address of the judgment debtor. You will also likely need to provide the amount and date of judgment and indicate whether the judgment is a default judgment. Depending on the state, you may need to sign this form in the presence of a notary.
File the foreign judgment registration forms with the clerk of court in the second state. The fee for registering a foreign judgment varies by state but can range between $30 and $50.
Wait for the objection period to expire before beginning collection procedures. After registering your judgment, the clerk of court will serve a copy of the registered judgment on the judgment debtor. The judgment debtor will have a period of time, usually between seven and 21 days, to object. Once the objection period ends, you can begin collection procedures, such as judicial liens, levies and garnishment.