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Out-Of-State Judgment Creditors FAQs

Much of our practice focuses on helping out-of-state judgment creditors collect debts from debtors with assets in and around the Chicago metropolitan area.  This blog post addresses a number of FAQs that we get from time to time.

Q.        Can a non-Illinois judgment be enforced against a judgment debtor with assets in Illinois?

Illinois courts give full faith and credit to final judgments entered by courts in other American jurisdictions (both Federal and State courts).  To do that, the judgment creditor must petition to register the foreign judgment in an Illinois circuit court.  Some jurisdictions refer to this process as “enrolling” or “domesticating” a foreign judgment.

Q.        Is this difficult?

Not really.  The judgment creditor must obtain an “authenticated” copy of the foreign judgment from the clerk of the rendering court, and then file it in an Illinois circuit court, along with a “petition to register foreign judgment,” and a notice of filing.  The petition and notice of filing identify the current mailing addresses of the judgment creditor and the judgment debtor.

Q.        What happens next?

Once the foreign judgment is properly registered, it becomes a judgment of that Illinois circuit court, and the judgment creditor may immediately initiate collection proceedings here.

Q.        Can the judgment debtor challenge the judgment in Illinois?

Generally not, unless the judgment debtor claims that the judgment is not final, or that the creditor did not obtain proper service of process in the original case.  Otherwise, an Illinois court usually will not question the validity of a judgment entered by a court of another American jurisdiction.

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