Domestication de-mystified: Four Steps for executing on your foreign judgment in North Carolina

In January, we discussed the judgment execution process.  In light of positive feedback, we wanted to follow that post by addressing a related, and equally intimidating process: domesticating a foreign judgment.  That is, if you are an out-of-state judgment creditor with a judgment against a North Carolina resident or corporation, how do you enforce your judgment across state lines?

North Carolina has adopted the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act, which applies in all but a few states and sets forth the guidelines attorneys or judgment creditors must follow in executing on a foreign judgment. While the detailed legal requirements of the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act can be found at N.C.G.S. § 1C-1701, we have broken the process down into four simple steps:

  1. File an authenticated copy of your judgment. Judgment creditors must obtain an original, signed, physical copy of the judgment to file in any North Carolina county in which the judgment debtor resides or has real or personal property.
  2. Prepare and file an affidavit. Along with the judgment, the attorney or judgment creditor must file a sworn statement that the judgment has not been satisfied in full.
  3. Serve the judgment debtor. The attorney or judgment creditor must serve the individual or corporate judgment debtor with a copy of the judgment, affidavit, and a formal notice that the judgment was filed in the applicable counties. The purpose of this step is to ensure that the judgment debtor has notice that the judgment may be executed on its North Carolina property, and to provide the judgment debtor with an opportunity to respond or object to the judgment.
  4. Wait 30 days. The judgment debtor is afforded 30 days from the date of service to file a motion for relief from the judgment in the applicable North Carolina counties. If this happens, the judgment creditor will be required to petition the court for an order allowing execution of the judgment.  If not, the judgment creditor is permitted to proceed with executing the judgment in the normal manner.

While this process appears straightforward, it does not always proceed smoothly and can be fraught with various complications such as a judgment debtor’s bankruptcy or relocation to another state.  Particularly in the case of individual judgment debtors, the law imposes various restrictions on creditors in an attempt to protect the judgment debtors’ rights.  It can be difficult to weather unexpected challenges while trying not to run afoul of various sets of laws that protect debtors. As such, it is helpful to engage an experienced attorney to help you navigate the process.

At Miller & Monroe, we have the experience and skill to help you navigate these complicated waters.  Our Raleigh lawyers have enforced civil judgments throughout North Carolina for our business and individual clients.  If you need help collecting a business debt or consumer debt, or enforcing a judgment against a business or individual, please contact us today and setup a consultation to discuss your options.

 This article is not intended to constitute legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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