You have successfully obtained a judgment against a party that owes you money. The problem is, the jurisdiction in which you obtained the judgment is not the jurisdiction in which the debtor/defendant has assets. Was your judgment obtained in vain?
The answer is no. Under the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments act, you can seek to enforce your hard-earned judgment in the jurisdiction in which the debtor/defendant has assets (the law refers to any judgment obtained outside of the state in which the law is sought to be enforced as a “foreign” judgment). The process is known as “domesticating” a judgment. For example, a judgment you obtained in Ohio can be domesticated in Kentucky through the process spelled out in the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act. Instead of going through the process of once again filing a complaint, waiting for the answer, and filing motions for summary or default judgment, all you have to do under the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act is file your authenticated judgment in the county in which the court would have jurisdiction over the debtor/defendant.
The Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act allows the debtor/defendant the time to respond to the filing in order to claim any defenses against the judgment he would have had under the jurisdiction under which you obtained the judgment. After the time has passed, or after the Court has overruled any potential defenses, the judgment is then enforceable under Kentucky law as if you had actually obtained the judgment in Kentucky in the first place. As discussed in previous blog posts, you then can file notices of judgment liens in the appropriate County Clerks’ offices, attempt to seize personal property for a sheriff sale, and attempt to garnish any accounts belonging to the debtor/defendant.
The Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act is codified in Kentucky at K.R.S. § 426.950 through 426.975. In addition, forty-six other states have codified some form of the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act.