As a business operating outside of Florida, it can be tricky—but by no means impossible—to collect a debt from a resident of Florida. Many student loan service providers and auto loan service providers encounter this need either occasionally or repeatedly. Luckily, there is a relatively simple process to follow. With the guidance of an experienced attorney, out-of-state debt collection can be much easier.

There are two differences in the process from standard debt collection:

  • You must employ an attorney in Florida to represent you
  • A county court must domesticate the debt

What does debt domestication mean?

Whenever a judgment is issued in another county or state, the debt must be “domesticated.” This means that each state must authenticate the debt judgment separately. Domestication creates a record of the debt judgment in the county where the debtor resides. There is usually a fee associated with this process, although exact procedures vary among the 67 counties in Florida.

Domestication of a debt makes the previously recorded judgment of debt owed enforceable by all legal means in Florida as well.

How will debt collection proceed once a judgment is domesticated?

The procedure for collecting out-of-state debts after domestication is identical to that for collecting in-state debts. Collections calls, wage garnishment and bank account garnishment are all fair game. Just because a debtor moves away, it does not eliminate their debt. As a business, you have a right to collect. However, it’s vital to understand the domestication piece of the puzzle so that you proceed legally with collections and avoid any ramifications.