You’ve Received a Judgment. Now What?

Your attorney has been working hard to obtain a judgment against the person who owes you money. The final judgment is entered, and the Court orders that the opposing party pay you a specific amount.  This is referred to as the liquidated sum.  You are now a judgment creditor and the defendant is a judgment debtor.  Often, the judgment debtor ignores the final judgment and doesn’t pay the money owed to you. Now what?

First, be sure to include certain information in your judgment so that you can easily find the person who owes you money.  Be sure to include the address of the debtor as well as any known identifying numbers, such as an EIN number if the debtor is a company.

Often real property is the most valuable asset a debtor owns. If the debtor is an individual and the real property is his or her homestead, the property may be exempt from judgment and collection. However, if the debtor owns multiple properties or is not an individual, a judgment lien may attach to the assets. Fla. Stat. 55.10 provides the method in which a creditor may create a lien on a real property.  It states, in pertinent part:

(1) A judgment, order, or decree becomes a lien on real property in any county when a certified copy of it is recorded in the official records or judgment lien record of the county, whichever is maintained at the time of recordation, provided that the judgment, order, or decree contains the address of the person who has a lien as a result of such judgment, order, or decree or a separate affidavit is recorded simultaneously with the judgment, order, or decree stating the address of the person who has a lien as a result of such judgment, order, or decreeA judgment, order, or decree does not become a lien on real property unless the address of the person who has a lien as a result of such judgment, order, or decree is contained in the judgment, order, or decree or an affidavit with such address is simultaneously recorded with the judgment, order, or decree.

Beware! In order for the judgment to become a judgment lien, the plaintiff must strictly comply with Fla. Stat. 55.10(1).  There are numerous cases in Florida finding that a judgment creditor’s failure to comply with the requirements listed in Fla. Stat. 55.10(1) results in a judgment lien failing to attach. Accordingly, watch out for these specific requirements, that include:

(1)     that a certified copy of the judgment is recorded in the official records or judgment lien record of the county;

(2)    that the judgment, order, or decree contains the address of the person who has a lien as a result of such judgment, order or decree; or a separate affidavit is recoded simultaneously with the judgment, order, or decree stating the address of the person who has a lien as a result of such judgment, order, or decree.

Van de Bogart Law, P.A. provides Creditor’s Rights assistance to commercial creditors throughout the state of Florida. Please contact our office if you are interested in a consultation regarding a commercial debtor or collecting on a judgment owed.