Question from aa, Can I Register an Old NJ Divorce Order in MA Under UEFJA?
Answer from AI:
If you have a divorce and contempt of court order from New Jersey dating back to 1972 and you wish to have it recognized and enforced in Massachusetts, you may be able to do so under the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act (UEFJA). The UEFJA allows for the domestication of judgments from one state to another, which means that a legal decision made in one state can be recognized and enforced in another state.
Understanding the UEFJA
The UEFJA is a uniform law that has been adopted by many states, including Massachusetts, to facilitate the enforcement of judgments across state lines. Under this act, a “foreign judgment” means any judgment, decree, or order of a court of another state which is entitled to full faith and credit in Massachusetts.
Steps to Register a Foreign Judgment in Massachusetts
- Obtain an Authenticated Copy: First, you will need to obtain an authenticated copy of the New Jersey divorce and contempt order from the court that issued it.
- File the Judgment: Next, you must file the authenticated copy with the appropriate court in Massachusetts, along with an affidavit stating the judgment is final, that it is unsatisfied in whole or in part, and the amount remaining to be satisfied.
- Notification: After filing, the clerk of the court will notify the other party that the judgment has been filed in Massachusetts.
- Waiting Period: The other party has a certain amount of time (usually 20 days) to contest the judgment’s validity.
- Enforcement: If the judgment is not contested or if it is upheld after being contested, it will be treated like any other judgment of the Massachusetts court and can be enforced accordingly.
Considerations for Old Judgments
While the UEFJA provides a mechanism for registering and enforcing out-of-state judgments, there may be additional considerations for judgments that are several decades old, such as the one from 1972 you mentioned:
- Statute of Limitations: Each state has its own statute of limitations for enforcing judgments. You will need to determine if the judgment is still enforceable under New Jersey law, as this will impact its enforceability in Massachusetts.
- Changed Circumstances: If circumstances have significantly changed since 1972, this may affect the enforcement of the order.
- Legal Advice: Due to the complexity and potential challenges associated with enforcing an old judgment, consulting with a legal professional is highly recommended.
Seeking Legal Advice
Enforcing an old out-of-state judgment can be a complex process, and there may be specific legal nuances that need to be addressed. It is advisable to consult with a lawyer who has experience in interstate judgment enforcement. A lawyer can provide personalized advice and ensure that all legal requirements are met for the judgment to be recognized and enforced in Massachusetts.
For more information on the UEFJA in Massachusetts, you can visit the Massachusetts Law about Enforcement of Judgments. Remember, this information is not a substitute for professional legal advice, and you should seek the assistance of a qualified attorney to discuss your specific situation.