Collecting payment on a debt can be a very challenging process. Companies may have a special internal department that handles accounts in arrears, or they may even outsource this work to another business to ensure that all collection efforts are legally compliant. No matter how hard a creditor pushes, it can be a struggle to make a non-compliant individual fulfill their financial obligations to others.

There are some people who borrow money and have no real intention of paying what they owe in full. Instead, they might change their phone numbers, start living with friends or even quit their jobs in an effort to avoid collection activity initiated by their creditors. In extreme cases, creditors have to take someone to court because that individual has demonstrated a marked and persistent refusal to fulfill their financial responsibilities.

How the courts can help a creditor

After a creditor brings a lawsuit in civil court, a judge can review the records of the matter and potentially rule in favor of the plaintiff, granting them a judgment. Judgments are often the first step toward garnishing someone’s wages and forcing them to repay their debt regardless of their excuses for refusing to pay. However, a judgment comes from a state court and is therefore only enforceable in the same state without taking extra steps. If someone who owed money while living in Florida or Tennessee moves to Georgia, creditors may want to domesticate the original judgment they secured.

What is the domestication of a judgment?

As the name implies, to domesticate a judgment is to make it enforceable in the current jurisdiction that applies. Georgia law recognizes the validity of judgments granted in other states and allows people to enforce their judgments in Georgia if they take the right steps. The process of judgment domestication is a worthwhile endeavor in many cases specifically because it is a quicker process than litigating the debt again. By filing paperwork related to the original judgment in Georgia, a creditor owed money by someone currently living in Georgia will be able to take the same debt collection steps they would have taken if the initial lawsuit occurred in Georgia.

Domestication is usually a necessary step if a creditor wants to garnish someone’s wages. All too often, creditors let interstate rules intimidate them out of asserting their rights. Requesting the domestication of a foreign judgment can be an effective way for a creditor to minimize what it costs to collect on a debt after someone leaves the state, perhaps in an effort to avoid financial responsibility.

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