Q: I have a civil judgment in the state of California through the Labor Board against a former employer. The employer has since moved to Florida. In order to collect, I've been told that I need a sister state judgment and that a lawyer must get it for me. Can I do this myself?

A: Your knees jerked in the right direction. No lawyerly diploma required for what you are after here. You need to register your California judgment with a civil court in Florida; select the court in the county in which the debtor owns property or works. It's usually a fairly simple process, and the court might even provide a form that you can use.

Once you have registered the judgment, contact the local sheriff and find out who is the local levying officer for the county. Contact that person and ask what he or she will need to enforce the judgment - probably a copy of the California judgment, the Florida registration and another form issued by the court in Florida called a writ. Ask the court clerk about it when you register your judgment. Then you can collect, once you locate Florida assets.

Copyright 1999 Nolo.com Inc.