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Florida Civil Judgments: What is a judgment?

Posted by Kristina Gonzalez | Apr 11, 2024 | 0 Comments

If you have been sued in a debt collection lawsuit and you failed to successfully defend the lawsuit, it is likely that a judgment has been entered against you. A judgment in a debt collection lawsuit is a piece of paper signed by the judge that indicates the debtor owes the creditor a specific amount of money. The issue is, however, that this piece of paper is enforceable in Florida for many years, and during that time, the amount owed to the creditor will continue to grow as interest accrues. Not only will the amount owed to the creditor grow exponentially over time, the judgment also gives the creditor the ability to collect against you by force.
    A civil judgment in Florida is enforceable for at least 20 years from the date of entry. That is a very long time! A creditor also can file an action on the judgment before the 20-year expiration. If a creditor does this, they can obtain a new judgment with a new set of 20-years! Although an action on the judgment is saved for usually very aggressive creditors, it can happen. This means that a judgment can basically have a never-ending life.
     While a judgment is enforceable, the creditor has a right to forcefully collect against you. The most common collection tools are wage garnishments, bank garnishments, liens against property and even levy of vehicles and personal property. These can all be very burdensome situations to experience as a debtor and should be avoided if possible.
    If a judgment has been entered against you, there are a couple of options available to resolve it. You can pay the judgment amount in full so that it is satisfied. You can negotiate a settlement with the creditor and once paid the judgment would be satisfied. Once the judgment is satisfied, the judgment is extinguished, and the creditor can no longer forcefully collect against you. In some instances, when paying the judgment is not feasible, filing for bankruptcy protection may be an option to eliminate the judgment completely.
    The best thing to do is to resolve a judgment as soon as you find out that you have one entered against you. This will limit the amount of interest that accrues on the judgment and prevent the creditor from surprising you with an unexpected garnishment or levy. Reach out to an experienced attorney who can assist you in deciding what is the best way to resolve a judgment in your specific situation.
If you need assistance resolving a judgment or a debt collection lawsuit, contact the professionals at Holland Law Group today at (941) 744-5450. We offer a free consultation and are available to assist Floridians across the state, whether you live in Miami, Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville, or anywhere else in between.      

About the Author

Kristina Gonzalez

Kristina is a native of Miami, Florida. Born to Cuban immigrant parents, she is the first in her family to go to college and obtain a law degree. She graduated in 2007 from the University of Florida summa cum laude with a Bachelor's Degree in English and Political Science. Kristina remained at th...


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