Martin Law Firm


How to Domesticate an Out-of-State Judgment in PA

By Jason Martin, Esq. on Dec 6, 2012 9:37:00 AM

Domesticate an out of state judgment in PAIf you currently hold an out-of-state judgment against a debtor located in the state of Pennsylvania, it’s possible to enforce your out-of-state judgment in PA.  Under a long-standing principle of U.S. law, most states, including PA, will permit a party holding a judgment (known as a “judgment creditor”) entered in another state to essentially transfer the other state’s judgment into a PA judgment.  This process is called domestication of an out-of-state judgment.  Creditors must domesticate their judgment in the state where they wish to enforce it.

In order to domesticate an out-of-state judgment, it is wise to utilize the assistance of an experienced debt collection attorney who understands the rules and procedural requirements necessary to successfully accomplish this legal process.  In addition, an experienced PA debt collection attorney with extensive experience in the Pennsylvania legal community will be prepared to handle any complication that may arise during the domestication process. 

Domesticating and Collecting Your Out-of-State Judgment in PA

An out of-state judgment against an individual or business debtor residing or located in the state of Pennsylvania must first be domesticated in PA before it can be enforced.  This means that a separate legal pleading must be filed in the PA courts.  You should retain a qualified debt collection attorney, and your attorney can assist you with the preparation of the necessary pleadings, which can include an authenticated copy of the foreign judgment, certified docket signed by the out-of-state judge, notarized affidavit, sworn certificate of address, notice of judgment, and more.  These documents, together with a statement that the out-of-state judgment is valid, enforceable and unsatisfied, must be filed with the appropriate Pennsylvania county court office pursuant to local court rules.  Unlike most states, each county in PA has its own set of local rules, fees, and procedures that must be adhered to in order to domesticate an out-of-state judgment successfully. 

Collect a judgment in PAOnce an out-of-state judgment is domesticated in Pennsylvania, the PA Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act permits a judgment creditor to use the full force of PA law to collect on the judgment.  Therefore, just because a judgment debtor has relocated to Pennsylvania does not mean that your debt collection efforts have been thwarted.  An experienced PA debt collection attorney can assist you with not only domesticating your out-of-state judgment in PA, but also with collecting on the judgment using various procedures afforded to judgment creditors under Pennsylvania law.

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