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Can debtors escape their bills by moving to Florida?

On Behalf of | Oct 18, 2021 | Collections |

Some debtors will go to considerable lengths to escape their financial commitments. Some will go as far as moving to try and evade paying you what they owe. If someone that owes you money decides to shift themselves or their assets to Florida, the good news is that you can follow them without needing to up sticks yourself.

Collecting on debt in your own state can be hard enough. It takes time, money and an understanding of state laws. If you had to repeat the process every time someone crosses the state border, you might give up. If it were too easy for debtors to run away from their debtors, more would try it.

The Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act (UEFJA) is designed to prevent this. Once you get a judgment against a debtor in one state, the act makes it relatively easy to pursue them across the state lines. 

You must domesticate a foreign judgment before you can collect

To collect what someone who now lives in Florida or has assets in Florida owes you, you need to file the judgment you obtained elsewhere with a Florida court. It is known as domesticating a foreign judgment. It applies whether you got the judgment in another U.S. state or another country.

Once a Florida court agrees to domesticate the judgment, the debtor has a chance to reply. If you missed any filing deadlines, they might be able to challenge it based on that, but they cannot challenge the original judge’s decision.  Having help to understand the rules and time limits that apply here in Florida will be crucial to enforce the judgment and reclaim the money the debtor owes you.