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Can Foreign Money Judgments Be Renewed Indefinitely in Florida?

Question from TJ, Can Foreign Money Judgments Be Renewed Indefinitely in Florida?

Answer from AI:

When dealing with the enforcement and renewal of foreign money judgments in Florida, it’s important to understand the specific legal framework that governs these processes. A “foreign judgment,” in this context, refers to any judgment, decree, or order of a court from another state within the United States for the payment of money. The rules for enforcing and renewing these judgments can vary significantly from one state to another. Here, we’ll explore how Florida handles foreign money judgments, particularly focusing on their expiration and renewal.

Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Florida

Firstly, for a foreign money judgment to be enforceable in Florida, it must be domesticated. This process involves filing the judgment with a Florida court, essentially making it a judgment of that court. The Florida Uniform Out-of-State Foreign Money-Judgment Recognition Act provides the framework for this process. Once domesticated, the judgment is treated similarly to any judgment originally issued by a Florida court.

Expiration and Renewal of Judgments in Florida

Under Florida law, the expiration period for a domestic judgment is generally 20 years from the date of judgment. This is outlined in the Florida Statutes, specifically in Section 95.11(1). However, for the judgment to remain enforceable throughout this period, certain actions may need to be taken.

Regarding the renewal of judgments, Florida law does allow for the renewal of judgments, but this process is not automatic. The creditor must take proactive steps to renew the judgment before it expires. This often involves filing a new lawsuit based on the original judgment before the expiration of the 20-year period. If successful, this can result in a new judgment, effectively renewing the judgment for another 20 years.

Does Florida Allow Indefinite Renewal?

The question of whether Florida allows for the indefinite renewal of foreign money judgments is nuanced. While the law permits the renewal of judgments, each renewal is contingent upon the creditor taking timely and proper legal action before the current judgment expires. Therefore, in theory, a judgment could be renewed multiple times, extending its enforceability well beyond the original 20-year period. However, this is not automatic and requires the creditor to actively pursue renewal through the legal system.

Specifics for Your Situation

Given your situation with a 2006 money judgment from California that was renewed in 2015 and again in 2022, it’s crucial to understand the following points:

  • The judgment must first be domesticated in Florida for it to be enforceable there.
  • Once domesticated, the judgment’s enforceability and renewal will be subject to Florida’s laws regarding judgments, including the 20-year expiration period and the possibility of renewal.
  • Active steps must be taken to renew the judgment in Florida before each 20-year expiration period lapses.

It’s important to consult with a legal professional who can provide advice tailored to your specific circumstances, including the nuances of domesticating and renewing a foreign judgment in Florida. They can also help navigate the procedural requirements to ensure your judgment remains enforceable.

For more detailed information on the enforcement of foreign judgments in Florida, you may refer to the Florida Uniform Out-of-State Foreign Money-Judgment Recognition Act.

Remember, while the legal framework provides a pathway for the enforcement and potential indefinite renewal of foreign money judgments in Florida, achieving this requires careful adherence to legal procedures and timelines.

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