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What happens if you need to collect on a judgment in Florida?

| Feb 15, 2021 | Executing on a Judgment

Collecting on a judgment in Florida for someone who lives in the state is easier than some other cases. However, there is a potential that the debtor will not willingly pay even after the judgment is finalized.

If you receive a court-ordered judgment, you can file a judgment lien with the Department of State, which then helps you recover your losses. Anything the sheriff’s department is able to retrieve from the debtor is paid out to creditors based on the order in which those liens were filed. So, if you win a case, make sure to file your lien as soon as possible.

What kinds of property will the sheriff levy to help repay creditors?

To repay the creditors, the sheriff’s department may seize items such as land and buildings, and personal property such as horses, boats, jewelry and cars. Individuals do receive exemptions from the sheriff’s levy. The exemption includes one personal property item that is under $1,000 in value and a vehicle that is worth $1,000 or less. If you are trying to have property seized from a partnership or corporation, there is no exemption.

The sheriff does not have the authority to take the individual’s homestead or home. They will also be unable to seize any leased or rented property the debtor is in possession of.

What should you do if you want the sheriff’s office to levy property for you?

The first step is to find the property in the state of Florida. The sheriff will not do this part of the work for you.

After you do this, file a writ of execution with the Clerk of the Court. This should then be delivered to the sheriff in the county where the property is located. Let the sheriff know where the property is and describe it. The sheriff will then attempt to seize that property on your behalf and sell it at a public auction. The money from the sale is distributed first to pay for the sheriff’s costs. Then, you’ll receive $500 toward your own costs. If other liens are against the debtor, the debts are then paid in the order in which those liens were filed.

As you can tell, this is a potentially long process, but it’s one that can get you compensated. Your attorney can help you get this process started once you receive the judgment in your favor.