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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010

    Default In Which State Do I File My Small Claims Case

    My question involves small claims court in the state of: Georgia, Alabama and Florida. My Divorce and Child Support Judgment Decree was in Georgia. I live in Alabama, he lives in Florida. The state of AL is handling the "straight arrears case" of the child support. I opted to wait until she turned 18 and he no longer has to pay, making it a straight arrears case.
    In my original Judgement, I was award the set child support AND "The sum of $200.00 on August 1st each year to assist in the costs of seasonal clothing, school clothing, and school supplies." Alabama child recovery stated to me that they cannot inforce the "$200.00 due August 1st of each year". Why I don't know. It clearly states it's for support.
    Anyways, for the last 4 years he has not paid the $200 and I would like to sue him in small claims court, since AL says I cannot recover it through child support and recovery.
    I already have the decree signed by a judge. All three states, small claims courts don't know what to tell me. I tried the county in the state the decree originated. I tried the county in the state where I live and the county in the state he lives in. Everyone is confused as to where I would file it.
    In the county in Florida where he resides, their small claims court said that if I could convince them that I could file it there, I could do it by mail.
    The Florida county clerk said I needed a lawyer to tell me where I should file.
    I don't know where else to turn. ANY SUGGESTIONS?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: In Which State Do I File My Small Claims Case

    You already have a judgment - you don't need to "sue" to get a new judgment. You would domesticate the judgment in Florida and use post-judgment remedies in that state to try to collect the money.
    Quote Quoting What does one need to collect on an out-of-state (foreign) judgment?
    Florida's statutory law requires that an exemplified out-of-state judgment first be recorded in the county in which the debtor resides and/or has any property. An exemplified judgment is a copy of a judgment from another state with a certificate attached. The certificate is signed three times, twice by the clerk of the issuing court and once by the presiding judge. The purpose of the certificate and signatures is to validate and authenticate that foreign judgment.

    Once the creditor obtains an exemplified copy of the foreign judgment, the judgment is recorded in the requisite county and the clerk of court sends notice to the debtor advising that an out-of-state judgment has been recorded. The creditor may not begin any collections efforts to execute on the judgment until 30 days after the notice to the debtor has been mailed out by the clerk of court. Florida statutory law gives the debtor that 30 day window in which to file an action challenging the validity of the judgment. If no such action is filed within the 30 days, the creditor is free to begin collection efforts including garnishing wages or bank accounts and executing on assets.

    Not all of the 67 counties in Florida have the same procedure when it comes to recording an out-of-state judgment. Most only require the fee to record the judgment and send out the notice. However, some counties do require that a case be filed at the same time the judgment is recorded. A case will ultimately be filed, however, in the event the creditor chooses to execute on the judgment. A case number is necessary for the clerk of court to issue writs of execution, attachment and garnishment as well as for the scheduling of any depositions to review a debtor's assets.

    A creditor may also file a lawsuit on the foreign judgment and forego the statutory method to domesticate the foreign judgment. In that case, the creditor files an action and asks the court to recognize the foreign judgment in Florida. However, this method usually takes more time than the statutory method. With the statutory method to domesticate a judgment, the creditor may begin collections 30 days after notice is mailed to the debtor.
    Before you do that, you should make sure that your actions won't interfere with Alabama's ability to collect the larger balance of the judgment on your behalf.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2010

    Default Re: In Which State Do I File My Small Claims Case

    Thank you SOOO much, Mr. Knowitall, for your information and your advice!!!

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