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Alan Cohen

Domesticating and Enforcing Your Foreign Judgments With a Massachusetts Collections Attorney

Collecting debts from debtors having assets in Massachusetts while you are in another state or a different country used to be difficult, even if you had a judgment against them. Massachusetts was among the few states that had not adopted the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgment Act. Therefore, no out of state judgment could be enforced here unless and until it was domesticated by filing a new suit to obtain a Massachusetts judgment. However, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts decided to adopt this Act as of April 1st, 2019, making the process of domesticating a foreign judgment easier.

As we have helped and represented numerous foreign judgment creditors over more than three decades, we have a sound understanding of the procedural rules and Massachusetts law pertaining to foreign judgment enforcement. Rest assured, you can focus on strategies and activities for generating more revenue while our experienced and aggressive debt collections attorneys work diligently to recover your delinquent debt from your debtor in Massachusetts.

Our Experienced Collections Attorneys Knows How to Enforce Foreign Judgments in Massachusetts

Domesticating a foreign judgment and enforcing it in Massachusetts requires skill and knowledge. Our experienced Massachusetts collections attorneys know how to domesticate foreign judgments and then enforce them to try to collect the Massachusetts judgment debt. If you are in another state or country and have obtained a judgment against a Massachusetts debtor, or if your debtor has assets in Massachusetts, we can help.

By law, a judgment debtor has so many ways to defend themselves. Though it is their legal right, they can manipulate them to delay the debt payment process. Therefore, to ensure the enforcement of domesticated foreign judgments, your case must be handled by an experienced Massachusetts bad debt collections lawyer who will work to defeat creative defenses to judgment skillfully and successfully. 

Not Just Domestication — Enforcement, Too

In addition to domestication of a foreign judgment by registration of that judgment, Massachusetts continues to allow creditors to file suit in Massachusetts on your behalf to domesticate your foreign judgment. Unlike others who file the registration and wait, and then wait longer for the foreign judgment to be clerically entered, we prefer aggressive debt collection action. While the domestication process is underway in our suit on the foreign judgment, we will seek to obtain pre-Massachusetts judgment security so that when the judgment is domesticated, you may have a source from which to collect your money. After all, isn’t getting paid the reason that you hire a debt collection attorney?

The key to making a foreign judgment domestication work is not to stop short at domestication itself. Many attorneys say they can take a foreign judgment and turn it into one that works in Massachusetts. If you don’t choose your attorney wisely, however, that may be all that you get. A judgment on paper won’t get you very far!

Pre-Massachusetts judgment security describes the process of obtaining a court order that seeks to freeze the assets of the judgment debtor during the pendency of the litigation. It is important to note that in Massachusetts. Pre-judgment attachments such as bank attachments, real estate attachments and reach and apply attachments, to name but a few, are equally available even before you have a judgment. This helps by ensuring that these assets are available to pay for your debt claim once you win the case. As the assets are seized, they can’t be used or transferred. In this way, the debtor can’t make any stealthy move to avoid paying for the services or products that you have provided to them on credit or monies that you loaned to them.

Upon investigation, if we learn that your judgment debtor has bank accounts, then we file the appropriate ex parte (without notice to the debtor) motion to attempt to freeze their funds by using a bank attachment, also known as trustee process. If the court decides not to allow ex parte attachment of the debtor’s bank account, we then seek to attach their accounts with notice.

However, to successfully seize the judgment debtor’s bank accounts, you should always make a copy of every check that you receive from them. This procedure is crucial for three reasons:

  1. They help with verification of accounts.
  2. They are indicative of continuous banking changes.
  3. They afford the debt collection lawyer attachment targets.
  4. You don’t have to delay your collection process by waiting for your bank, which keeps copies of all checks deposited for six years) to get around to giving you this information.

Our Thorough Investigation Can Reveal Assets That Others Have Missed

Our relentless and aggressive debt collection attorneys use their innovation, creativity, skill, and expertise in the debt collection field to help locate assets that others can’t. We use post-judgment discovery to help uncover the judgment debtor’s possessions. It can be non-exempt vehicles, artwork, or anything else of value. Of course, debtors might hide their actual properties to try to get away with not paying, which is why we don’t settle for their word. We go beyond by seeking information from the judgment debtor. We are limited only by the extent of our imagination in locating and seizing assets so that at the end of the day, our creditor clients get paid.

We Use All Appropriate Pre-Judgment Collection Tools to Collect Post Judgment 

Massachusetts has provisions for creditors to use a variety of different remedies that can be implemented post-judgment or pre-judgment. Being proactive and proficient, our attorneys aggressively work to collect our clients’ debt.

There are several aggressive and effective post-judgment collection tools that we use.  These include but are not limited to:

  • Ex parte attachments: These attachments when granted by courts freeze non-exempt monies in your judgment debtors’ bank accounts or seize real estate or personal properties. They limit the powers of the property owner to sell, transfer or damage their attached assets;
  • Reach and apply injunctions: These orders apply when there is a third party involved who owes monies to your debtor or is an entity in which your debtor has an ownership interest. The reach and apply injunction will allow you to collect the debt directly from the third party;
  • Wage garnishments: As the name indicates, these apply to salaried or hourly  individuals, and the employer has to withhold a specific non-exempt part of the debtor’s income to be paid to you the judgment creditor. Failure to comply with the order can cause the employer to make the complete payment themselves.
  • Asset seizure and mortgage foreclosures:  Once the execution is issued, the Law Offices of Alan M. Cohen LLC can direct the deputy sheriff to seize and/or sell the judgment debtor’s non-exempt assets. In cases where the creditor holds a mortgage or other security, we can bring foreclosure proceedings. When that doesn’t fill the pot, we pursue foreclosure deficiencies.

In the end, collecting your foreign judgment all comes down to whether your attorney is  proactive and aggressive. Our experienced commercial debt collection attorneys and paralegals team at the Law Offices of Alan M. Cohen LLC is relentless in pursuing your case from the filing of the initial lawsuit all the way to getting you paid. We analyze the potential abilities (and willingness) of your debtor to make the owed payment and devise commercial debt collection plans accordingly. Our experience and comprehensive understanding of the debt collection laws in Massachusetts helps us provide you with a stress-free debt collection process.

Though we may use aggressive measures to recover your debt, we nonetheless make sure that we treat all debtors with sheer respect and dignity. Our goal in all of our small business collections as well as large business collections efforts is to help you with debt recovery while ensuring (if you so choose) that you and your debtors remain on good terms so that both sides can do business in the future.

We would be happy to discuss your legal options with you, whether you are in MA or out of state. Connect with us today by calling the Law Offices of Alan M. Cohen LLC at (508) 620-6900 or emailing info@collections-law.com.

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