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Enforcing an out of state Judgment in Illinois

Feb. 6, 2024

How do you enforce an out of state judgment in Illinois?

We get this issue a lot as we work with numerous out-of-state creditors and their attorneys seeking to collect from a judgment debtor with assets in Illinois.

One would think this would be an easy process, but it is pretty complicated. The first thing a creditor needs to do is to register the judgment in the Land of Lincoln. Illinois, like most states, has codified the Uniform Enforcement of Judgments Act: 736 ILCS 5/12-650. Pursuant to this Act we can take a foreign judgment and “domesticate” it here in Illinois.

So what needs to be done? For the creditor, it's pretty easy. The first thing you need to do is hire someone who knows how to do this process. If you do, all the Illinois attorney would need is a proper copy of the judgment. Having dealt with this issue from numerous jurisdictions, we know that some courts call it an “authenticated” judgment; some call it an “exemplified” judgment. Here in Illinois, we call it a “certified judgment.”

Basically, the creditor needs to supply a clerk stamped copy of the judgment, not the one issued in the original case. It does not need to be an original as it will be electronically filed later.

The only other thing needed is an affidavit of the last known address of the defendant so the clerk can give notice. The attorney in Illinois will draft the petition to register the foreign judgment, the cover sheet, the requisite notices and the like. By the way, each county has a little different method of registering a foreign judgment.

Once those documents are filed, it takes anywhere from one to ten days for it to be approved. Once it is, your attorney will advise that you are the proud owner of an Illinois judgment so that you can start enforcing it here.

We get asked this question and have litigated it several times, so I will answer it. Can the defendant contest the out of state judgment in Illinois courts. They can, but they will likely not be successful. We have had numerous defendants try to vacate the judgment because of a defense that could have been asserted in the state of the original judgment. I advise opposing counsels of this all the time, but some simply want to simply file the motion, brief the issue and have a hearing, Everytime, this has happened the Illinois judge indicates that it must give full faith and credit to the sister state judgment and directs the defendant to direct any attacks on the judgment there.

If you need help enforcing your judgment in Illinois, please contact me at