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A judgment entered in the court of the State of Florida generally may be enforced within twenty (20) years from the date the judgment was entered (Section 95.11(1).) It may become a lien on a judgment debtor's non exempt real estate in any county for a period of seven (7) years from the date of recording when a certified copy of the judgment, which contains the address of the person having the lien right, or a separate affidavit setting forth the judgment and the address of the person having the lien right, is recorded in such county. (Section 55.10(1).) Such lien may be extended for an additional period of 7 years each time the judgment and an affidavit stating the current address of the lien holder, is re-recorded within ninety (90) days preceding the expiration of the prior lien. (Section 55.10(2), (3) & (4).) However, no judgment of any court shall be a lien upon any real or personal property of the judgment debtor within the state of Florida after the expiration of 20 years from the date of the entry of such judgment. (Section 55.081.)
Generally, all lands and tenements, goods and chattels, equities of redemption in real and personal property, and stock in corporations, of a judgment debtor may be subject to levy and sale under execution. (Section 56.061.) A judgment creditor also has a right to a writ of garnishment against any debt due to defendant by a third person, and any tangible or intangible personal property of defendant in the possession or control of a third person. (Section 77.01.) However, before the court may issue a writ of garnishment is issued, the plaintiff, the plaintiff's agent or attorney, must file a motion (which does not have to be verified or negative defendant's exemptions) stating the amount of the judgment and that movant does not believe that defendant has in his or her possession visible property on which a levy can be made sufficient to satisfy the judgment. (Section 77.03.)
If the salary or wages of a judgment debtor are to be garnished to satisfy a judgment, the court may issue a continuing writ of garnishment to the judgment debtor's employer which provides for the periodic payment of a portion of the salary or wages of the judgment debtor as the salary or wages become due until the judgment is satisfied or until otherwise provided by court order. (Section 77.0305.) The amount of wages which may be garnished is limited under Section 222.11 of the Florida Statutes. If all of the disposable earnings of the judgment debtor, who is the head of family, is less than or equal to $500 a week, the entire amount is exempt from attachment or garnishment. If the disposable earnings of the judgment debtor, who is the head of a family, are greater than $500 a week, the excess amount may be attached only if the judgment debtor has agreed in writing permitting such garnishment. However, the amount which may be attached or garnished may not exceed the amount allowed under the Consumer Credit Protection Act, 15 U.S.C. s.1673. If the disposable earnings of a judgment debtor, who is not the head of family, are attached or garnished, such amount may not exceed the amount allowed under the Consumer Credit Protection Act, 15 U.S.C. s. 1673. Earnings that are exempt and are credited or deposited in any financial institution are exempt from attachment or garnishment for 6 months after the earnings are received by the financial institution if the funds can be traced and properly identified as earnings. Commingling of earnings with other funds does not by itself defeat the ability of a head of family to trace earnings.
Confession of judgment in the State of Florida is generally null and void. (Section 55.05.)
Under the Florida Uniform Enforcement Of Foreign Judgments Act , a judgment from other states generally is entitled to full faith and credit for the purpose of enforcement. (Section 55.501 et seq.) A judgment creditor seeking to enforce a foreign judgment may file with the appropriate court, a certified copy of the foreign judgment and an affidavit setting forth the name, social security number, if known, and last known post office address of the judgment debtor and of the judgment creditor. Promptly upon the recording of the foreign judgment and the affidavit, the clerk and the judgment creditor are required to mail a notice of the recording of the foreign judgment, by registered mail with return receipt requested, to the judgment debtor at the address given in the affidavit. Execution of the foreign judgment generally may not commenced until thirty (30) days after the mailing of the notice and payment of a service charge of $25 to the court clerk. (Section 55.505.) A judgment so recorded shall have the same effect and shall be subject to the same rules of civil procedure, legal and equitable defenses, and proceedings for reopening, vacating, or staying judgments, and it may be enforced, released, or satisfied, as a judgment of a circuit or county court of the State of Florida. (Section 55.503.)
An action on a judgment or decree of any court, not of record, of this state or any court of the United States, any other state or territory in the United States, or a foreign country, must be enforced within five (5) years . (Section 95.11(2)(A).)
Legal rate: Legal rate is the same as the judgment rate and is determined by the Comptroller of the State of Florida who sets the rate of interest for each year beginning January 1 by averaging the discount rate of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York for the preceding year, then adding 500 basis points to the averaged federal discount rate. (Section 687.01, Section 55.03.)
Legal rate is the same as the judgment rate and is determined by the Comptroller of the State of Florida who sets the rate of interest for each year beginning January 1 by averaging the discount rate of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York for the preceding year, then adding 500 basis points to the averaged federal discount rate. (Section 687.01, Section 55.03.)
Contract rate: Not to exceed 18% per annum simple interest on loan, advance of money, line of credit, or forbearance to enforce the collection of any debt, or upon any obligation whatever. However, if such loan, advance of money, line of credit, forbearance to enforce the collection of a debt, or obligation exceeds $500,000 in amount or value, then no contract to pay interest thereon is usurious unless the rate of interest exceeds the rate prescribed in s. 687.071. (Section 687.02.)
Judgment rate: Judgment rate is determined by the Comptroller of the State of Florida who sets the rate of interest for each year beginning January 1 by averaging the discount rate of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York for the preceding year, then adding 500 basis points to the averaged federal discount rate. (Section 55.03.)
In general, a debtor may claim exemption of his homestead and non-exempt personal property from attachment or execution of a judgment, or in a bankruptcy proceeding.
Any person may claim exemption of his or her homestead from forced sale under any process of law by recording a written statement containing a description of the real property, mobile home, or modular home claimed to be exempt and declaring that the real property, mobile home, or modular home is the homestead of the party in whose behalf such claim is being made, with the Circuit Court , (Section 222.01.)
Certain personal property is allowed by law or by the State Constitution to be exempt from levy and sale, the debtor may claim such personal property to be exempt from sale by making, within 15 days after the date of the levy, an inventory of his or her personal property. (Section 222.061.) Personal property which may be exempt include certain portion of wages (Section 222.11), life insurance policies (Section 222.13), annuity contract (Section 222.14), unemployment compensation benefits (Section 222.15), disability benefits (Section 222.18), pension and retirement funds (Section 222.21), motor vehicle up to a value of $1,000 and interest in any professionally prescribed health aids for the debtor or a dependent of the debtor (Section 222.25).
Section 55.146 of the Florida Statutes further provide that all property of a judgment debtor where the judgment is in favor of any state for failure to pay that state's income tax on benefits received from a pension or other retirement plan is exempt from forced sale under process of any court, and no such judgment or execution based thereon shall be a lien on such property.
In accordance with the provision of s. 522(b) of the Bankruptcy Code of 1978 (11 U.S.C. s. 522(b)), residents of this state shall not be entitled to the federal exemptions provided in s. 522(d) of the Bankruptcy Code of 1978 (11 U.S.C. s. 522(d)). (Section 222.20.) However, an individual debtor under the federal Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1978 may exempt, in addition to any other exemptions allowed under state law, any property listed in subsection (d)(10) of s. 522 of that act. (Section 222.201.)
Statutes of Limitation
Civil actions generally can be commenced only within certain time limitations. The time generally runs from the date a cause of action accrues or from the date injury or damages are discovered or should have been discovered. Generally, a cause of action accrues when the last element constituting the cause of action occurs. The last element constituting a cause of action on an obligation founded on a negotiable instrument which is payable on demand or contains no specific due date is often the first written demand for payment. (Section 95.031(1).) Any contract which contains provisions to shorten the statutory time limitation is generally void. (Section 95.03.) An acknowledgment of, or promise to pay, a debt barred by a statute of limitations must be in writing and signed by the person sought to be charged. (Section 95.04.)
When a cause of action accrues is a critical issue and may be different on a case by case basis. A creditor should always consult actual legal counsel to determine its right to action under the applicable statutes. Some of the time limitations relevant to credit and collection matters are as follows:
Written contract 5 years Section 95.11(2)(b)
Oral contract 4 years Section 95.11(3)(k)
Sale of goods 4 years Section 95.11(3)(k)
Specific performance of a contract 1 years Section 95.11(5)(a)
Enforcement of an equitable lien arising from the furnishing of labor, services, or material for the improvement of real property. 1 year
Rescission of a contract 4 years Section 95.11(3)(l)
Any action not specifically provided for in the Florida Statutes 4 years Section 95.11(3)(p)