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Foreign judgments: How do I collect using another state’s judgment?

On Behalf of | Dec 20, 2022 | Foreign Judgment Collection

A foreign judgment is a judgment, decree, or court order outside of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Creditors can use certain legal tools to collect from deadbeat debtors, but the process requires following a complex legal process. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Alan M Cohen & Associates LLC have over five decades of experience navigating this process and can put this experience to work for you, better ensuring you get the payment you earned.

How does a creditor collect on a foreign judgment?

There are two ways to domesticate (enforce) a foreign judgment in Massachusetts. The first is by registration. In this instance the creditor files an exemplified copy of the foreign judgment and other documents with the clerk’s office of the district court in the location of the debtor or where the debtor has a usual place of business or arguably where the debtor has assets. Massachusetts law then instructs the clerk to then provide notice to the debtor and then after thirty days enter a Massachusetts execution which is then ready to be enforced in Massachusetts. In short, when done correctly, your foreign judgment becomes a Massachusetts execution.

The second avenue, the traditional avenue in Massachusetts, is domestication by litigation. In this scenario the Law Offices of Alan M Cohen & Associates LLC would file a brand-new suit based on the foreign judgment. This suit would then run through the normal course of litigation except the scales are tipped in the creditor’s favor by use of the United States’ Constitution “full faith and credit clause”.

Both tactics have advantages and disadvantages which the experienced attorneys at the Law Offices of Alan M Cohen & Associates LLC can explain to you.

Is collecting payment on a foreign judgment a difficult process?

The law has strict procedures and deadlines the creditor must follow to ensure they can collect the funds due. A failure to include all required paperwork in a domestication by registration action can stall or even derail collection efforts. Once received, the clerk will mail notice to the debtor. It is important to note that the debtor could push back against these efforts and claim they are in the process of appealing the foreign judgement.

The legal team at the Law Offices of Alan M. Cohen & Associates LLC have over fifty years of experience helping creditors successfully enforce foreign judgments in Massachusetts. Our attorneys will work with you not just to complete the paperwork and move forward with the judgment but also through the entire debt collection process — until either you  get paid or there is no possible way in which you could get paid.

If you need to enforce your judgment in Massachusetts, call us at 508-620 6900 or reach out online.