A civil judgment is an order of a court that conclusively establishes that a party (person, business, or other legal entity) owes another party a specific amount of money. The party owning or holding the judgment is referred to as the judgment creditor. The main concern that Florida consumers should have when there is a judgment entered against them is the potential for unpleasant collection methods at the hands of the judgment creditor such as wage/bank garnishment, intrusive and time-consuming discovery proceedings, and property liens and levy.
In connection with a repossession, a deficiency judgment is simply a deficiency balance which has been successfully sued upon in a deficiency lawsuit and has now been reduced to a civil judgment.
A default judgment is entered by the Court based on the failure of the defendant to file or serve any response after being served with the lawsuit. It may be possible to have a default judgment vacated or set aside. Rule 1.540(b) of the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure provides as follows:
“On motion and upon such terms as are just, the court may relieve a party … 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 … intrinsic or extrinsic), misrepresentation, or other misconduct of an adverse party; (4) [as well as for when] the judgment or decree is void. …”
For a default to be set aside, the trial court must determine (1) whether the defendant has demonstrated excusable neglect in failing to respond; (2) whether the defendant has demonstrated a meritorious defense; and (3) whether the defendant, subsequent to learning of the default, has demonstrated due diligence in seeking relief.
Typically a Florida Judgment can create a lien on any real property owned by the Judgment debtor. That lien may be removed by successfully negotiating with the judgment creditor for removal of the lien. If the real property in question is homestead, the judgment can be removed by filing a simple action entitled Notice of Homestead against the judgment creditor pursuant to Section 222.01 et seq. of the Florida Statutes. We have extensive experience litigating judgment issues in Florida and provide comprehensive judgment defense for our clients utilizing every potential legal remedy under Florida and federal law.
In Florida, a final judgment is good for 20 years. That means that judgments entered in the 1990’s are still enforceable at this time.
A judgment stays on your credit report for seven years