Registration of a Foreign Judgment
Following the conclusion of many legal cases, additional litigation is often necessary to enforce the provisions of, or modify, a judgment. When the parties to a family law case, or a child involved in a family law case, reside in a state other than the state that issued the original judgment, the state that issued the original judgment may lack the jurisdiction to enforce, or modify, the judgment. This jurisdictional barrier may be overcome by registering your foreign judgment in Missouri. In family law cases, this jurisdictional issue is common in actions to 1) modify child custody and 2) collect delinquent judgment debts. Contact an attorney at the Zolman Law Firm today for a free consultation to discuss the registration of a foreign judgment in Missouri to obtain the relief that you are seeking.
After a court issues a judgment apportioning child custody to each parent, said child may relocate to a different state. After the child relocates, the state that issued the child-custody judgment may lack the jurisdiction that is necessary to modify the judgment. Legal proceedings seeking to modify a child-custody judgment must occur in the child’s “home state”. Generally, a child’s “home state” is the last state in which the child last resided for a consecutive, six-month period prior to the filing of the modification action. So, if your child lives in Missouri, and you want to modify a child-custody judgment that was issued by another state, contact an attorney at the Zolman Law Firm to discuss the registration of your foreign judgment and subsequent modification action.
In addition to actions modifying a foreign, child-custody judgment, a foreign judgment may need to be registered in Missouri to enforce provisions of a foreign judgment. Many family law cases conclude with a judgment ordering one party (“obligor”) to pay money to another party (“obligee”). Unfortunately, obligors often fail to make the necessary payment(s), and the obligee will need to take legal action against the obligor’s assets to collect the money to which the obligee is entitled. When the obligor’s property is located outside the state that entered the original judgment, the obligee may need to register the original judgment in the state containing the obligor’s property. To obtain the money to which you are entitled, contact an attorney at the Zolman Law Firm today for a free consultation to discuss the options that are available to you.
At the conclusion of many family law cases, one party may be obligated to pay child support, spousal support, attorney’s fees, or other expenses to the other party. If the obligor fails to make the necessary payment(s), there are legal mechanisms by which the obligee may collect the money to which she is entitled. These collection mechanisms may include placing a lien on the obligor’s property or garnishing the obligor’s wages, bank accounts, or income-tax refund. When the obligor’s assets are located within the state that entered the original judgment, then a court of that state may enforce execution on those assets; however, if the obligor’s assets are in a different state, then the court that entered the original judgment lacks the requisite jurisdiction to execute on those assets. While states have enacted laws facilitating the collection of interstate child-support obligations, an obligee may need to register the original judgment in the state containing the obligor’s property to collect on unpaid spousal support, attorney’s fees, or other expenses.
An example of this process could entail a Husband and Wife petitioning an Alabama court for a divorce. In the judgment dissolving the parties’ marriage, the Alabama court orders Husband to pay $5,000 to Wife over a one-year period for the attorney’s fees that Wife paid to her divorce attorney. After the divorce judgment is entered, Husband fails to make the required payments to Wife, and Husband relocates to Missouri. One year later, Wife concludes that Husband has no intention of paying the $5,000 to her, and Wife decides to pursue legal action to collect the money to which she is entitled. A Missouri small-business employs Husband at a substantial wage, and Wife intends to garnish Husband’s wages to collect the money that she is owed. While the Alabama court lacks the jurisdiction over the Missouri small-business that is necessary to garnish Husband’s wages, an attorney at the Zolman Law Firm can register the Alabama divorce judgment in Missouri, and the Missouri court can order the garnishment of Husband’s wages.