Is a writ of garnishment enforceable in another state?
It is quite common that a garnishment is enforced in other states, particulary if the person responsible for the debt is employed by a company based in a state other than the one where the debt is owed. The garnishment action must be brought in the state where the debtor resides but that may not be the same place the employer or bank is located.
The United States Constitution, under Article IV, section 1 provides that full faith and credit must be given in each state to the public acts, records and judicial proceedings of every other state. Thus, a judgment issued by one state court must be given full faith and credit by the foreign or "sister-state" court. Although full faith and credit must be provided to judgments of another state, enforcement actions in the sister-state often requires acts to be taken by authorities in the sister-state (such as Marshals or Sheriffs) who will only follow an order of a court of their home state. For example, a judgment is obtained against a judgment debtor who has a bank account in California; to execute a levy upon the California bank account, the judgment creditor registers a Texas judgment as a California sister-state judgment, obtains a Writ of Execution directing a County Marshal in California to enforce the judgment and the judgment creditor then instructs the County Marshal to perform the bank levy at the bank where the judgment debtor has his/her money. The sister-state judgment is necessary since the Texas court does not have the authority to direct the actions of the County Marshal in California.
To obtain entry of a "sister-state judgment," the judgment creditor applies to a court in the state in which the judgment debtor's property is located. Some courts have a particular form which must be used by the judgment creditor and there is typically a requirement that the application for entry of the sister-state judgment be filed in a particular court (i.e. - applications for entry of a sister-state judgment must be made in a Superior Court and not in a Small Claims or Municipal Court). In addition to the application, an "authenticated" or certified copy of the judgment, issued by the court that originally issued the judgment, must be attached.
After filing the application, the judgment creditor must give the judgment debtor notice of the filing. This enables the judgment debtor to raise certain bars to the issuance of the sister-state judgment, such as defects in the issuance of the judgment or the original judgment is not final and unconditional. If the judgment debtor does nothing, typically the sister-state judgment is issued and then the judgment creditor can pursue all available remedies for enforcement of the judgment in the sister-state.