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What Business Owners Need to Know About Their Foreign Judgment Rights

As a business owner, knowing the appropriate action that you can take to deal with out of state delinquent debtors is essential to the bottom line. The first step should be finding someone who can be in your corner and fight to collect your bad debts until they either collect the bad debt or no one else can.

The experienced and effective debt collection attorneys at the Law Offices of Alan M. Cohen LLC domesticate and enforce foreign judgments for clients outside Massachusetts. We’ve created this blog as a primer on how we handle foreign judgment cases, as well as examining the tools that we use to help business owners like you to collect their accounts receivables.

Domesticating Your Judgment

Domestication was initially a lengthier process, hindered by Massachusetts failing to adopt the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act. After the Commonwealth of Massachusetts finally did so nearly two years ago, domesticating a foreign judgment now has two paths. The first is by registration and the second is by collection litigation. The experienced debt collections attorneys at the Law Offices of Alan M. Cohen LLC use both techniques (although not at the same time!!) depending on circumstance. 

The registration approach requires an exemplified copy of your out-of-state judgment, as well as an affidavit. Then, a court clerk gives your debtor 30 days to dispute the judgment. If after the thirty days, the defendant has not responded, the Massachusetts court issues a judgment. This is when you first can commence post judgment discovery  and/or post judgment attachments. 

Litigation on the other hand, is just like any other bad debt recovery suit, except the basis of the suit is not for goods sold or services rendered but rather to enforce the foreign judgment. As with any litigation, aggressive attorneys often seek pre-judgment security so that when the foreign judgment has been domesticated through the entry of judgment, the creditor may have a pot from which to get paid. While domestication by litigation allows for seeking prejudgment security, the creditor initially bears the burden of demonstrating that the foreign court or state court had both subject matter jurisdiction (had authority to hear the case) and had personal jurisdiction over the debtor (so as to not violate the debtor’s due process rights). Whereas in a domestication by registration, the debtor bears that burden of providing initially that the out of state court lacked either. Different circumstances often dictate one approach over the other. 

Now that your foreign judgment has been domesticated and you have your execution, post judgment discovery and post judgment collection techniques are now available. At the Law Offices of Alan M. Cohen we do not stop trying to collect the bad debt until we have gotten you paid or no one else could. 

Enforcing Your Judgment

The true benefit of turning to an experienced debt collections lawyer for foreign judgment enforcement is the multitude of post-judgment collections methods that we employ to go after any monies and/or liquid assets that your debtor might be hiding. In certain scenarios, we may be able to attach your debtor’s assets ex parte (without notice). We aggressively, yet ethically , diligently work your case  to try to get you paid. Sometimes it is full throttled and sometimes a much more patient and tactical approach is employed.

Wage Garnishments

One of the relentless and effective methods that the collection attorneys at the Law Offices of Alan M. Cohen LLC may use includes garnishing the individual debtor’s wages, rental income, and sometimes payments from insurance proceeds. Based on your debtor’s financial situation, we  determine how, when and where to use this collection tactic.

Reach and Apply Injunctions

During the domestication approach as well as post judgment, we search for your debtor’s income stream and then work to tap those funds to get you paid. If we can locate one or more of your debtor’s customers we may seek a reach and apply injunction to make sure that you are in the payment line. A reach and apply injunction is statutory in Massachusetts. It is as it sounds. We “reach” monies going from your debtor’s customers to your debtor and then “apply” those monies to the debt owed to you. The standards to obtain a reach and apply injunction are far less demanding than to obtain a Rule 65 Injunction. All a creditor needs to do is to show a reasonable likelihood that they will collect a debt from the debtor and that the reach and apply defendant may owe monies to the debtor.

Liens and Property Attachments

Through our over 45 years of collective debt collection attorney experience dealing with post-judgment debt recovery, the collection attorneys at the Law Offices of Alan M. Cohen LLC have found that an effective way to secure your debt as well as to get your debtor’s attention is to obtain a real estate attachment on their property. This can be done through both liens and personal property or real estate attachments. If your debtor wants to sell their property, or even if they want to refinance, they may not be able to do so without first repaying your outstanding debt. 

Turn to the Experienced B2B Debt Recovery Lawyers at the Law Offices of Alan M. Cohen LLC

The aggressive and relentless debt collection attorneys at the Law Offices of Alan M. Cohen LLC have over 45 years of collective debt recovery experience and know how to enforce judgments in Massachusetts. To learn more about how our collections lawyers can domesticate and enforce your foreign judgment to get you paid, call (508) 620-6900 or email

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