Irmo, SC asked in Bankruptcy and Collections for South Carolina

Q: Can a 16 year old Alabama judgement be enforced in South Carolina if they filed and got a ten year extension?

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3 Lawyer Answers
Timothy Denison
Timothy Denison
Answered
  • Bankruptcy Lawyer
  • Louisville, KY

A: If it was extended, yes.

W. J. Winterstein Jr.
W. J. Winterstein Jr.
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Bankruptcy Lawyer
  • Boyertown, PA

A: Given the bankruptcy topic area where this question has landed, I'm assuming that this question involves a bankruptcy case pending, or to be soon filed, in South Carolina.

Like all federal courts, the law of any of the various states can frame and/or determine an issue(s) in a bankruptcy case. In particular, the validity of a claim is generally determined, in the first instance, by applicable state law. What to do with such a claim, or how to treat it in a bankruptcy proceeding, is then governed by the Bankruptcy Code.

I'm in Pennsylvania, and in my state, a judgment will be deemed "dormant" if no action (i.e., execution on the judgment) is taken for five years. In some states, it is possible to "revive" such a judgment. Or, although I am not familiar with Alabama law, it may be possible to extend the life of a judgment with a court's blessing.

Most states have entered into a reciprocity arrangement pertaining to enforcement of a judgment of another ("foreign") state, through passage of the (uniform) Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act. Under that Act, a judgment rendered in, for instance, Alabama, can be "registered" in SC simply by filing the out-of-state judgment in another state (e.g., SC), and the party against whom the judgment has been entered is given notice and twenty days to file an objection to that "registration" of the out of state judgment. The grounds for objection are limited. If no objections are filed, or with any objections are overruled, the out of state judgment becomes a judgment in the new state in which the judgment is registered (under your facts, South Carolina). Once a judgment becomes, e.g., a South Carolina judgment, it can be enforced (writ of execution, garnishment, foreclosure) like any other judgment in SC.

Lloyd M. Nolan
Lloyd M. Nolan
PREMIUM
Answered

A: There are a lot of moving parts to this question. First, I am not licensed in Alabama or South Carolina, so I cannot give you a definitive answer. However, I am licensed in Missouri and the laws of most States are similar -- you will need to consult local counsel, of course. In Missouri, a Judgment remains enforceable for 10 years, unless The Judgment can be revived by filing a Motion to Revive any time prior to the expiration of the 10 year period. After that, the Judgment is unenforceable. In Missouri, garnishments and executions within the 10 year period also have the effect of reviving the Judgment. A valid judgment from another state can be enforced in Missouri by filing a petition for registration of a "Foreign Judgment" which, once granted, can be used to issue a garnishment or execution from the Missouri Court. If the laws of Alabama and South Carolina are similar, you can predict the result. You need to contact an attorney in your jurisdiction immediately to protect your rights.

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