I received an interesting email from a guy in Georgia who is a reader of the blog. The reader says:
“Your Florida Asset Protection Blog has certainly been interesting reading. I bet I have a situation you have not heard of yet! Here in Georgia there is a new statute which provides that, in any attempt to execute a domesticated judgment against a Georgia resident, the judgment debtor has the same protections as a resident of the state from which the judgment was issued. (see O.C.G.A. 44-13-120).”
If this accurate summarizes the new Georgia law, Florida residents could take their exemptions, including homestead protection, with them if they move north. The reader says Georgia homestead protection is limited to $10,000. After being sued in Florida, a person who owns a Florida homestead could sell the house and buy a new residence in Georgia and enjoy unlimited homestead protection. Or, a Georgia resident who sees a possible lawsuit on the horizon can move to Florida, buy a homestead, and make the creditor sue him in Florida courts. The debtor could let the creditor get a Florida judgment. Then, some time in the future after establishing Florida residency, the debtor could change his mind and return to his original home with his new Florida exemptions.
There are several issues which Georgia courts will hopefully clarify. For instance, does the debtor have to own a homestead in Florida or own property tenants by the entireties in Florida in order to transfer the same exemption over the same property? Or, can a Floridian with no homestead who gets a judgment against him in a Florida court then move to Georgia and buy his initial homestead in Georgia and still be protected. Would tenants by entireties protection apply if the Florida debtor moves to Georgia while single and marries in Georgia.
In any event, I am not aware of any other law of this kind in any state. If any reader has insights or opinions about the new Georgia statute please let me know.