Did you know that a money judgment from any U.S. state can be brought in and enforced against you in New York or New Jersey? Thanks to a straightforward process known as “judgment domestication,” your New York and New Jersey assets will be subject to seizure just the same as if they were located in the state where the judgment was entered. This is because the U.S. Constitution requires states to give “full faith and credit” to judgments from other states. Here’s how it works.
If a judgment from another state was decided on the merits, meaning you appeared in the lawsuit and answered the complaint but then lost the case, it’s just a matter of your creditor having a lawyer file a short affidavit along with an authenticated copy of the out-of-state judgment with the clerk of the county in New York or New Jersey where your assets are located. After that, you’ll be put on notice and the local sheriff can be enlisted to seize your property, bank accounts, or other assets.
If an out-of-state judgment was entered by default, meaning you never answered the lawsuit at all, the process is similarly simple in New Jersey. In New York, your creditor just needs to have a New York lawyer file a simple motion asking to have the judgment recognized. After the motion is granted, the process for enforcement is the same as with a judgment on the merits. Don’t ignore a lawsuit simply because it was brought in a different state!
Whether you’re a business in debt with assets in New York or New Jersey, or you’re owed money and looking to seize New York or New Jersey assets, it’s helpful to understand the lay of the land when it comes to sister-state judgment enforcement, especially when it comes to two states that are home to trillions in assets of businesses large and small. To learn more about New York and New Jersey judgment domestication, you can reach out to our office any time for a free consultation.