Can I Enforce or Modify My Out of State Divorce in Florida?
Because divorce is state specific, it is difficult to know how to “transfer” your divorce when you move. If you and your children have moved or relocated after a divorce, paternity, or other family law proceeding has terminated, you might be wondering if Florida will enforce those orders. If you have received a final judgment then you might be able to domesticate said judgment. This is the formal process necessary to enforce your foreign (out of state) divorce. Outside of the enforcement guaranteed by the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the U.S. Constitution, several acts of the Florida legislature have detailed how to record, or domesticate, your order in your new home state.
What’s the Process of Domestication?
The first step in domestication is obtaining a certified copy of your final judgment. This will likely require a written request and a fee from the original court, which will depend on the divorcing jurisdiction.
After you have received a certified copy, you must prepare an affidavit to be notarized. This affidavit must contain the name, address, and Social Security number of both parties to the divorce. The affidavit must additionally include a request to domesticate the order in the Florida county in which you now reside.
You must then take the certified copy of the final judgment along with the affidavit to the clerk of the family law division in your local Florida courthouse. Upon receipt the clerk will record the judgment and affidavit and notify the opposing party that the final judgment has been filed in Florida.
There is a filing fee associated with the Domesticating of the Judgment as well as a waiting period. For 30 days after the initial filing, the respondent has an opportunity to respond. This waiting period allows the respondent reasonable time to file an action challenging the validity or enforcement of the final order. If the defendant does not respond or initiate any action during those 30 days the order will be domesticated and enforceable in Florida.
Why Would I Want to Domesticate My Judgment?
In order to have the full enforcement of the Florida authorities, a judgment must be recorded in the Florida Courts. One of the benefits of domesticating your final order is to have the ability to modify that order in Florida courts. Once a judgment is domesticated, Florida law will apply to any modifications the party seek to make to the agreement.
Is Domestication Guaranteed?
No. Parties can attempt to stop the domestication of a foreign judgment or order for several reasons. First, if the order you are seeking to domesticate in Florida is not final, the court will not record the order. This means if your order is currently under appeal or there are other related court proceedings that have not terminated before seeking domestication, it is likely the order will not be domesticated.
Will My Order Be Domesticated?
If you are considering domesticating your out of state order in Florida, or you have questions on how to begin the process contact the Tampa family and divorce lawyers at All Family Law Group, P.A. in Tampa Bay at 813-816-2232 for a consultation at no charge or email us.
By Lynette Silon-Laguna Google+