In Florida, the final judgment in a foreclosure case is the written determination
by the presiding judge of whether the plaintiff will be able to sell the
house at foreclosure auction, amongst other things. It contains a final
determination of the issues in the case. Unless it’s appealed, the
final judgment completes the case. However, if you are in foreclosure
and have received a final judgment, the fact that you received a final
judgment does not necessarily mean that you can no longer fight your case.
In some instances you may be able to challenge the validity of this judgment,
get it set aside or even get it invalidated. The Florida Statutes grant
the circuit court, “jurisdiction, power, and authority to rescind,
vacate, and set aside a decree of foreclosure of a mortgage of property
at any time before the sale thereof has been actually made pursuant to
the terms of such decree, and to dismiss the foreclosure proceeding upon
the payment of all court costs.” Fla. Stat. Ann. § 702.07 (West).
However, before you run off to file a motion requesting any of the above,
I recommend you have a competent attorney review your case with you and
assess whether circumstances in your cases support your request. The statute
itself does not provide information regarding the grounds by which a circuit
court can exercise its above-referenced power.
These grounds are laid out in Florida Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 1.540(b),
which state, “[o]n motion and upon such terms as are just, the court
may relieve a party or a party's legal representative from a final
judgment, decree, order, or proceeding for the following reasons: (1)
mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect; (2) newly discovered
evidence which by due diligence could not have been discovered in time
to move for a new trial or rehearing; (3) fraud (whether heretofore denominated
intrinsic or extrinsic), misrepresentation, or other misconduct of an
adverse party; (4) that the judgment or decree is void; or (5) that the
judgment or decree has been satisfied, released, or discharged, or a prior
judgment or decree upon which it is based has been reversed or otherwise
vacated, or it is no longer equitable that the judgment or decree should
have prospective application.” Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.540.
However, aside from providing the basis for the motion, the rules provide
time constraints as well: “The motion shall be filed within a reasonable
time, and for reasons (1), (2), and (3) not more than 1 year after the
judgment, decree, order, or proceeding was entered or taken.” Fla.
R. Civ. P. 1.540.
There is a lot that goes in to challenging a foreclosure judgment. If you
believe that your foreclosure judgment should be vacated, you should contact
a qualified attorney immediately. For more information about defending
a foreclosure case,
please click here. Loan Lawyers has helped over 5,000 South Florida homeowners and consumers
with their debt problems.
Contact us to see how we may be able to help you.