Collecting in a Judgment Obtained in a Different State

Collections Lawyer

If a creditor obtains a Money Judgment in another State against someone who later moves to the Holland, Michigan area, what can the creditor do?

A. Nothing
B. Cry.
C. Domesticate the other State’s Judgment.

If you chose “C”, you made a good choice. Under the full faith and credit provision of the US Constitution, one State must recognize the judgment of another State. (The Full Faith and Credit Clause refers to Article IV, Section 1 of the United States Constitution, which addresses the obligation that States within US have to respect the “public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other State.”)

Thus, the Michigan Court must treat another State’s Judgment as good as its own.

To domesticate the other State’s judgment, it must first be authenticated by the Court that entered the original judgment (with a fancy stamp to indicate that it is a legitimate copy and not a fraud). The Michigan attorney then must sign an affidavit stating that the Judgment is in effect and the amount of the judgment without interest. 21 days after the Michigan Court has given notice of entry of the Foreign Judgment, the Michigan attorney can initiate post-judgment remedies such as garnishments seeking to collect the balance owed on the judgment.

We have handled numerous cases wherein a creditor who has a judgment from another State seeks to collect in Michigan and would be happy to assist you. Contact us by phone at 616.396.8883.