The process of collecting on a judgment in Florida can be complex and can involve various legal tools and procedures. One such tool is the levy or attachment of real property. The levy process involves seizing a judgment debtor’s property to pay the judgment debt, with the goal of selling the levied property to pay the creditor. In Florida, the sheriff’s department is responsible for levying the property and selling it to pay the creditor.
It’s important to understand that under Florida law, there are exemptions to what property can be seized and sold. For example, an individual may choose to exempt one motor vehicle worth $1,000 or less, and one additional personal property item worth $1,000 or less. Corporations and partnerships do not have any exemptions. Additionally, the sheriff cannot seize an individual’s home or homestead or any property that is leased or rented by the judgment debtor.
The process of levying real property begins with obtaining a Writ of Execution. Once the writ has been obtained, it must be delivered to the appropriate sheriff and the associated fees must be paid. This process requires a deposit and instructions for Levy, which is a list describing what is subject to be seized and stored. The sheriff will then sell the property at a public auction to the highest bidder.
It’s important to note that before the sheriff can sell any property, certain requirements must be met. This includes a search of court records and UCC records to determine that there are no other or prior liens or existing judgments against the debtor, affidavits must be provided to the sheriff, and an advertisement must be placed in the local papers once all the proper notices have been sent.
Once the sheriff sells the seized property at auction, the sheriff’s department will distribute the money after deducting their costs. If anyone else obtained a judgment lien against the debtor, the sheriff’s office would pay all of the creditors in the order their judgment liens were filed. If the sheriff’s department disburses all of the money before getting to you, you will not receive any payment. If there are no other judgment liens against the debtor, you will be paid first. Remaining funds will be returned to the debtor.
In summary, the levy or attachment process for real property in Florida can be a complex and challenging process, but with the assistance of experienced attorneys, it can be navigated successfully. It’s important to understand the exemptions and requirements that apply in the state of Florida.