Written by attorney Robert Franklin Dean

Foreign Judgments in Maryland

Once a creditor gets a judgment, then it can move forward with garnishments to collect the money owed. But if the judgment is entered in one state, and the debtor lives and/or works in another state, the creditor will need to docket the original judgment in the new state and go through the new state’s court system to collect on it. Maryland’s procedure is explained in Maryland Code, Cts and Jud Proc, 11-801 to 11-807.

In Maryland, out-of-state judgments are called foreign judgments. If the principal amount is $2,500 or more, it can be filed in the Circuit Court or the District Court; if the principal is less than $2,500, it must be filed in the District Court. HOW TO FILE IN CIRCUIT COURT and a triple-seal copy of the original judgment should be attached. To file it in the District Court, Form DC/CV 15 must be completed and a triple-seal copy of the original judgment should be attached. A $25.00 fee must be paid, and can be added as a court cost to be paid by the debtor.

Maryland Code, Cts and Jud Proc, 11-802(a)(1) requires “a copy of any foreign judgment authenticated in accordance with an act of Congress or statutes of this State may be filed in the office of the clerk of a circuit court." The "copy… authenticated in accordance with an act of Congress" is called a triple seal judgment. It is a copy of the original judgment with a seal from the original court and the signature of a judge or clerk of that original court. A creditor can obtain this by contacting the clerk of the original court and paying a fee. The creditor must then attach it to his request to docket the judgment in the Maryland court.

The debtor has rights during this process. Our courts assume that he received a fair trial because the courts of the other 49 states provide due process and the opportunity for appeal. Under Maryland Code, Cts and Jud Proc 11-803, either the creditor or the court must mail a notice to the debtor at his last known address when the foreign judgment is filed in Maryland. Section 11-804 stays the enforcement of the judgment if the debtor can show good reason why it should be stayed.

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