A lawsuit was filed and now you received paperwork about a “judgment.” The word alone is very intimidating and does not fully appraise the individual on the current state of litigation.
What does this mean? What can be done? Can I fight the judgment? These are all excellent questions which warrant a brief overview of monetary judgments in Florida.
In reference to Florida collections lawsuits, a judgment is a financial calculation of monetary damages with the addition of interest over time. A judgment may be paid in full to satisfy the amounts owed or it may continue to accumulate interest when payments are not made. However, a judgment is not an automatic win for a creditor. The creditor will look to enforce the judgment by using legal tactics to attach to your property or income.
Creditors have various methods of executing/enforcing a judgment. They may look to record a lien, garnish wages, or even seize personal property. Wage garnishment is one of the more common approaches, where a certain percentage of wages are set aside by your employer to pay the creditor. However, be advised that the creditor can employ other methods of enforcement which can become problematic in the future. To avoid this issue all together, it is best to hire an experienced debt defense attorney to avoid loss of income/property from a quick final judgment.
Florida collections cases usually arrive at an early judgment in one of two ways: 1. The defendant does not appear at a pre-trial conference for a small claims case or 2. A response is not filed in the case for matters beyond small claims. Fortunately, there are methods of removing a judgment against a defendant. Each client's case is different, and the specific facts/circumstances will often dictate what can be done to attack your judgment. In many cases, we can remove a judgment if a motion is timely filed with the court. This helps protect your income and property and places you in the best situation to resolve the case.
A judgment can be very alarming and will lead to more questions than answers. However, it is something that commonly happens and can often be addressed by experienced counsel. The attorneys at Holland Law have assisted many Florida clients in removing judgments and protecting wages and property from creditors in all counties in Florida from Miami-Dade to Duval, Orange to Hillsborough, and all counties in between. If you have a collections case where a judgment was entered against you, please contact our office for a free consultation regarding your case and rights under Florida law.