GENERAL GUIDE TO THE ENFORCEMENT OF JUDGMENTS ACROSS
article discusses general guidelines regarding the
enforcement of a judgment in a state other than the
state where the judgment was originally obtained; what
is commonly referred to as a Foreign Judgment*.
SEEK ENFORCEMENT OF A JUDGMENT IN ANOTHER STATE
are two reasons why a creditor may seek to enforce a
judgment in a state other than the state where the
judgment was originally obtained:
debtor has moved to another state, and there are no
assets available to satisfy the judgment in the
original judgment state.
The debtor may
not have moved, but it is learned there are assets
available to satisfy the judgment in another state.
the United States Constitution, a judgment obtained in
one state is to be given full faith and credit in
other states of the United States.
Article 4, Section 1 of the Constitution
faith and credit shall be given in each State of the
public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of
every other State.
And the Congress may by general laws prescribe
that manner in which such acts, records, and
proceeding shall be proved, and the effect thereof.”
this does not mean that a judgment of one state can
automatically be enforced in another state.
OF JUDGMENT ACROSS STATE LINES
judgments across state lines can be enforced in one of
A new lawsuit may
be filed based on the judgment.
those states that have adopted the Uniform Enforcement
of Foreign Judgment Act (the Act), a foreign judgment
(defined as a judgment of any state or federal court)
may be registered by filing an exemplified copy of the
foreign judgment with the appropriate office of the
Court and notifying the debtor of the filing.
exemplified judgment is a copy of the judgment to
which a certificate has been attached signed in three
places, once by the judge and twice by the clerk,
attesting to the authenticity and validity of the
is frequently called a judgment that has been
authenticated pursuant to an Act of Congress.
The Act sets forth the technical procedure that
must be followed to register the judgment.
judgment that has been registered is viewed as a
judgment issued out of the Court in which the foreign
judgment was filed and all local enforcement
procedures would be available to the creditor.
A word of caution – the Act is not uniform
in all states.
Some states, such as New York and Connecticut, will
not allow the registration of a default judgment
in which case a new lawsuit must be filed to enforce
judgment entered in a United States Federal Court may
be enforced in a State Court the same as any other
sister state judgment.
In addition, it may be registered and enforced
in any other Federal District.
The procedure to register a federal judgment in
another Federal District requires that the Clerk of
the Court complete a Court form entitled:
“Certification of Judgment for Registration in
Another District” to which the Clerk of the Court
will attach a certified copy of the judgment.
This is then filed in the Federal District
Court where the creditor seeks to enforce the
filing fee is minimal and no notice of the filing is
required to be given to the judgment debtor.
Upon filing, the judgment becomes a judgment of that
District and Creditor can immediately seek to enforce
the judgment. Federal
Court judgments are enforced in accordance with the
legal procedures authorized by the laws of the state
where the Federal District Court is located.
ADOPTION OF THE UNIFORM ENFORCEMENT OF FOREGIN
following is a list of those states that have
adopted the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments
Note – The Uniform Enforcement of Foreign
Judgments Acts does not apply to judgments of
A court of the United States will enforce a
judgment of a foreign country based upon either
treaty or comity.
The United States and some countries have
entered into a treaty for the enforcement of
is simply the idea that if a country enforces a
judgment of the United States, the Courts of the
United States Will reciprocate.