Things to Know About Judgments in Florida

woman judge hand holding gavel bang

People facing a debt collection lawsuit in Florida should always work with a debt defense lawyer who can help them win their case. Many people are not aware that there are many defenses available to these lawsuits, and an attorney will know what those are and how to use them effectively to help you win your case. Still, whether or not you work with an attorney during your debt collection lawsuit, there is still a chance that you may not win your case. In these instances, a post-judgment order may be issued against you.

Post-judgment orders allow the debt collector to come after you to recover the remaining amount of debt you owe. Many people think that these judgments are an order to pay money. However, they are simply an order that allows the debt collector to take certain steps to collect the money still owed. Often, debt collectors must take involuntary collection methods to receive payment. As such, it is important you understand some of the most basic components of any judgment issued against you.

Terminology in Judgments

If you have a judgment issued against you, it is important you understand some of the terminology used. This will give you a better understanding of the judgment, what is required of you, and the actions the debt collector can take.

Some of the most common terms in judgments are as follows:

  • Judgment creditors: A judgment creditor refers to the party or parties that are still owed money once a decision has been made on the lawsuit. In most cases, this is the plaintiff, or the debt collector that took legal action against you.
  • Judgment debtor: The judgment debtor is the person that still owes money once the lawsuit is finalized. In most cases, this is the defendant, which is most likely you.
  • Execution: The execution of the judgment outlines the steps a debt collector is allowed to take to collect on the debt when you do not voluntarily repay it.
  • Satisfaction: If you repay the debt, or otherwise meet the debt collector’s demands, they may draft a satisfaction document. The creditor named on the judgment must sign the document, releasing you from the obligation to pay the debt.
  • Joint and several: The term ‘joint and several’ is one that confuses many people. It means that any party considered jointly and severally liable is responsible for repaying the entire debt, not just a percentage. For example, if there was a co-signer on the debt, you and the co-signer are both responsible for the entire debt and it is not divided between each of you.

Once you know the different terms of the judgment, you must then understand the ways in which a debt collector can collect on that debt.

Enforcing and Collecting on Judgments in Florida

Judgments are effective liens that can last up to 20 years in Florida. This means that a debt collector has up to 20 years to collect on the debt still owing within the judgment. The lengthy amount of time is shocking to many borrowers that thought their debt had simply fallen by the wayside and that they no longer had to deal with them.

Debt defense lawyers understand that many individuals facing financial hardship often do not understand the severity of a judgment or the remedies it provides debt collectors under Florida law. Lawsuits that result in a judgment being issued do not rely on the underlying action. Debt collectors have all of the same remedies available to them under Florida law, regardless of whether the judgment was for a personal injury case, debt collection lawsuit, foreclosure case, or another type of civil action.

The actions a debt collector may take when trying to recover debt are as follows:

  • Garnishment proceedings: A debt collector may secure a wage garnishment or a bank garnishment as part of a debt collection lawsuit. With a wage garnishment, the employer will deduct a certain percentage of your paycheck and direct it to the debt collector. A bank garnishment can result in the debt collector withdrawing money from your bank account, or freezing the entire amount until the debt is repaid.
  • Property liens: A property lien gives the debt collector an interest in your property so it can recover the debt you owe. A lien can give the debt collector the right to sell your property, or it may mean that if you sell the property voluntarily, the debt collector is paid first and you will receive the remaining proceeds of the sale.
  • Discovery proceedings: Discovery is a legal process that can include written requests, depositions, entry into land for inspection, and a number of other invasive procedures debt collectors will use to discover the assets you hold.
  • Foreclosure: One of the worst-case scenarios, a debt collector may secure a foreclosure action against you when that property is not exempted under Florida law.

The many options debt collectors have when they secure a judgment against you seem scary, but there is still hope. It is at this time, more than ever, that it is crucial that you reach out to a debt defense lawyer that can help with your case. Just as there are defenses to debt collection lawsuits, there are also defenses available in deficiency judgment orders. It is not uncommon, for example, for debt collectors to cut corners or fail to keep records properly maintained. A debt defense lawyer can prove these facts, and give you the best chance of a positive outcome.

Was a Judgment Issued Against You? Our Florida Debt Defense Lawyers Can Help

If you have had a deficiency judgment issued against you, or a debt collector has taken action, it is crucial that you do not wait to speak to a Fort Lauderdale debt defense lawyer. At Loan Lawyers, our attorneys have the experience necessary to effectively defend against these actions so you have the best chance of securing a successful outcome. Call us today at (954) 807-1361 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled attorneys.

Loan Lawyers has helped over 5,000 South Florida homeowners and consumers with their debt problems, we have saved over 2,000 homes from foreclosure, eliminated more than $100,000,000 in mortgage principal and consumer debt, and have recovered over $10,000,000 on behalf of our clients due to bank, loan servicer, and debt collector violations. Contact us for a free consultation and find out more about our money back guarantee on credit card debt buyer lawsuits, and how we may be able to help you.