Florida Foreclosure Process

In Florida foreclosure formally begins when a bank or mortgage company files a lawsuit and serves a complaint and summons on the borrower. Afterward, the homeowner borrower has 20 days to serve, or send, a written response to the complaint, otherwise everything the court treats the complaint as admitted. This is a critical time because defenses can be lost by failing to timely respond to the complaint.

Florida rules of procedure require the foreclosing plaintiff to move the case along and allows a period for exchange of documents, requests for certain information, all designed to allow each side to prove their respective positions. This is known as discovery. Afterward, the case may be set for final conclusion by the court using a summary process that can lead to entry of a judgment authorizing the sale of the home. Alternatively, the case may get set for trial.

At each stage of this process technicalities of procedure, court protocols and the pressure to close cases all work against a homeowner who fails to get proper legal advice and representation. Homeowners who are unrepresented almost always lose the home. While those who obtain counsel at least have a fighting chance to win the case. Although no guarantee can be given regarding the outcome of any specific case, our firm has won numerous cases for clients facing foreclosure. Sometimes a win can be a resolution favorable to the client to which the bank agrees.
It is important to know that once a foreclosure case reaches final judgment and the property is sold, except under rare circumstances there is very little that can be done on behalf of a homeowner that has lost. Our firm handles post-judgment motions and appeals, but it is extremely important to know that the time to fight the foreclosure is before the property gets set for sale.

The Foreclosure Timeline

I Just Got Served. Now What?

If you have just been served with foreclosure or you know it’s coming soon, the most important thing you need to understand is it’s time for you to hire an attorney. IMMEDIATELY!

It’s not just enough for you to hire any attorney, you need to hire an attorney that lives and fights in the community in which your foreclosure is filed. Unfortunately there are far too many con artists out there who prey on consumers in foreclosure and quite frankly, there are too many attorneys that are not prepared to properly fight for your family in your foreclosure case.

Mailbox Noise
The disturbing reality is that soon after a foreclosure case is filed, a consumer’s mailbox is stuffed with hundreds of solicitations and offers…many of them quite official looking that promise all kinds of results. But make no mistake, in foreclosure there are rarely easy solutions and they’re certainly not going to be delivered in your mailbox.

A foreclosure case is a complex legal matter that requires the guidance and expertise of an attorney who is licensed to practice in the state in which your foreclosure case is filed. For best results your foreclosure defense attorney should practice regularly before the judges that will hear your case and which live and work in your community. At Weidner Law, we limit our practice to defending cases which are filed in the communities that we live and work in….and that’s what you should expect from the attorney you hire.

Hiring an attorney is a very important matter; it’s an awesome responsibility that the attorneys and staff of Weidner Law take very seriously. When you hire our firm, you’re placing your future, and the future of your family in our hands. We understand this and we work tirelessly to meet your needs and fulfill your expectations. When you hire our firm, you will receive prompt personal attention and guidance and consultation provided by licensed attorneys. The personal and attorney-centered approach to each of our clients is one of the many secrets of our success.

I hope that I have made this quite clear. When you’re served with foreclosure, you need to hire a locally-based foreclosure defense attorney. Do not sign any documents, do no provide any of your family’s personal information to anyone over the phone. Before you hire anyone to help fight your foreclosure, speak with an attorney that will be handling your case.

Caution
Finally, a special word of caution to address realtors and investors who will approach you after your foreclosure case is filed. Immediately after a foreclosure case is filed, most consumers will be approached both by properly licensed and local realtors and by investors and individuals who will offer “help” to the consumer in the form of listing the home for sale or in some kind of outright purchase. A legitimate realtor who truly has the best interests of the consumer in mind will absolutely require that the consumer hire a local attorney to represent the client in the pending foreclosure case. And beware of the realtor that suggests generally that, “we work with good attorneys”. No. If the consumer does not physically go and meet with the attorney who will be representing that consumer, the attorney does not represent the interests of that consumer. Far too often the, “we work with attorneys” model means the attorneys are merely working to execute a quickie short sale….an avenue that may not be in the consumer’s best interests. At Weidner Law, we work with realtors, but they understand explicitly that if a short sale is not in the best interests of our clients, there will be no short sale. There is no question where our loyalty and professional responsibilities lies…it’s with our client alone.

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My foreclosure was filed long ago.

If you were served with a foreclosure case any time over the last several years, but you’re not absolutely certain that your case has been formally, finally and completely dismissed, you are in a very dangerous position.

Many of the very worst abuses in the foreclosure process are present in foreclosure cases that have been filed years ago. And many of those cases are still pending in courtrooms all across Florida. In fact, it was recently reported that there are nearly 350,000 foreclosure cases still pending in courtrooms all across the state, with many of those cases having been filed during the darkest period of our state’s court history, the foreclosure robo-signing and foreclosure rocket docket period. Many of these cases have been sitting dormant, with the banks not wanting to move them forward, but all of that is changing now, with both plaintiffs and in some cases our state’s own court system working against the consumer to resurrect those old cases and bring them forward before judges.

The problem is, as part of the mad rush to “CLEAR THE FORECLOSURE DOCKET”, many cases that should not move at all are moving forward and foreclosure summary judgments or foreclosure trials are being noticed for hearing with Final Judgments being entered in cases where the consumer though their case was dismissed or closed long ago.

You must understand that even if you have court papers that say quite clearly, “The Case Is Dismissed”, this does not mean that the case really is dismissed. Complicated isn’t it? Well, that’s legal jargon and the legal process for you. A case that is “dismissed” can be “un-dismissed” with a few simple filings by the bank attorneys and it can be set for a Final Judgment immediately thereafter. Quite simply, you cannot rely upon your own understanding of what’s occurring with your case….YOU MUST RELY ON THE DIRECT ADVICE OF AN EXPERIENCED FORECLOSURE DEFENSE ATTORNEY who can explain to you the exact steps in your foreclosure case or who can explain to you what happens in foreclosure.

It is quite unfortunate and deeply regrettable that consumers are going to lose their homes (homes that will likely be sold to investors for pennies on the dollar) because they thought their foreclosure case was dismissed when in fact all it took was the bank filing a few papers to get the foreclosure case started all over again.

You simply cannot wait until you receive papers indicating that your case is set for trial or that there is a hearing on your case to hire an experienced foreclosure defense attorney….you need to hire your foreclosure attorney now so that and get to work defending your foreclosure case.

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Or call us: 727-954-8752

Uh, oh . . . my foreclosure is set for trial.

A special word to consumers and self-representation in foreclosure
I know that there are many, many consumers across the state of Florida who have chosen (or out of necessity) decided to file their own pleadings and defend their own foreclosure case. No one has been a bigger supporter of this in the past than I, but I want consumers to know that the environment has changed so dramatically that consumers can no longer handle their cases on their own.

The fact of the matter is that foreclosure has changed quite dramatically over the last several months and it’s quite dangerous for consumers to continue trying to defend their own cases. So if you were able to delay your case, if you were able to work some kind of short term modification out with your bank, good for you. But now is not the time to live in a false sense of security. Now is the time to hire an experienced foreclosure defense attorney to review your case, and either confirm that it is closed and the liability is passed, or begin the very hard work to defend a case that has been languishing without final resolution for some time.

Don’t be caught of guard and don’t be a victim of the complexities of a the legal system that you do not understand.

Contact Weidner Law and let us make sure your foreclosure case is properly defended and your family is protected.

CLICK HERE TO CONTACT US

Or call us: 727-954-8752