If you owe a debt that you haven’t paid, the creditor to whom you
owe money has the right to take legal action against you. If you do not
defend yourself in such a lawsuit or lose the case, the judgment creditor
has several available options to take money and property to satisfy the
debt. If you have a judgment against you, learn more about the types of
property you can protect and which property may be in danger.
A judgment creditor can seek a writ of execution which allows the creditor
to seize money held in personal checking or savings account. The creditor
can file such a writ with your bank, who will automatically take out enough
money to pay off the debt. If you do not have enough money to pay the
debt in full, the judgment creditor may be able to take all of the money
held in your accounts. Additionally, the judgment creditor can ask the
court to file a garnishment against your wages that will allow the creditor
to take money out of your paycheck until the debt is paid.
A judgment creditor also has the right to ask the local sheriff’s
department to seize your personal property. In Florida, every person can
protect up to $4,000 in personal property from seizure for a debt. If
you own more than $4,000 in personal property, any remaining property
can be seized
If the debt or judgment revolves around a particular item of property,
like furniture or a vehicle, then this property can be repossessed with
or without a judgment, depending on the terms of the agreement.
One thing a judgment creditor cannot take is your home. If you own your
home, you are covered by the state’s homestead exemption. This exemption
states that a person’s home and real estate is protected from forced
sale over a debt except if the debt is related to the property. For example,
a person’s mortgage lender or landscaper could force the sale of
the home over an unpaid debt because both the mortgage lender and landscaper
extended credit in order to buy, improve, or repair the home. In contrast,
a hospital could not force a person to sell his or her home to pay off
medical debt, because that debt does not relate to that home.
Help Protecting Your Property
Even though judgment creditors have the ability to seize a wide variety
of property to pay off a debt, their rights to seizures are not absolute.
If you owe money to a judgment creditor, you can still protect much of
your income and property if you act quickly.
At Loan Lawyers, our experienced Florida debt defense attorneys understand
the rules and exemptions involved in debt collection. We can help you
protect your income, your bank accounts, and your personal property from
unlawful debt collection practices even after a judgment has been entered.
To learn more about how Loan Lawyers can help you, schedule your free,
no-risk consultation at any of our three conveniently located offices
by calling (888) FIGHT-13 (344-4813) today.