Enforcing a Foreign Judgment (Aka Sister State Judgment) in Hawaii

Under Hawaii law, a judgment creditor who wishes to enforce a judgment that was entered in a court outside the state of Hawaii (also known as a foreign judgment or sister state judgment) must file a copy of such judgment, exemplified by the originating court, with the Hawaii state court having jurisdiction over the judgment.

Pursuant to Chapter 636C of the Hawaii Revised Statutes, the Hawaii court in which the foreign judgment is filed will treat the foreign judgment in the same manner as a judgment originally entered by a Hawaii court.

That is, the foreign judgment has the same effect and is subject to the same procedures, defenses, and proceedings of reopening, vacating, or staying as a judgment of a court of the State, including establishing a lien, and may be enforced or satisfied in a like manner.

The following are the procedures that must be followed when filing a foreign judgment on a Hawaii state court:

  • The judgment creditor needs to obtain an exemplified foreign judgment that will eventually be filed with the Hawaii court.
  • The judgment creditor’s attorney must file an Ex Parte Motion for Entry of Foreign Judgment. The Hawaii court will the docket the motion as a special proceeding.
  • The judgment creditor will need to prepare a Notice of Entry of Judgment/Order.
  • The Ex Parte Motion for Entry of Foreign Judgment would then be filed with the Hawaii court along with sufficient copies of the Notice of Entry of Judgment/Order.
  • The filing fee would be as follows:
    • For Hawaii circuit courts, a $275 fee.
    • For Hawaii district courts, a $120 fee.
  • Although it is not required, the judgment creditor may serve a copy of the judgment (or notice of filing) on the judgment debtor.
  • The judgment creditor must prepare a Notice of Filing Foreign Judgment and a pre-stamped envelope that has been addressed to the judgment debtor, and present these items with the exemplified foreign judgment to the clerk’s office.

Once the judgment creditor obtains a Hawaii judgment for the foreign judgment, the judgment creditor can then pursue a judgment lien on the judgment debtor’s assets, if any, in Hawaii.

As you can see, there are a number of issues that you will need to consider when attempting to enforce a foreign judgment in Hawaii. Contact us and we can help you prepare and file the necessary documentation in Hawaii’s state and district courts.

Have legal questions? Contact us today for a consultation and get the answers you need.

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