After served with a Florida Credit Card lawsuit, depending on the balance alleged by the creditor or debt buyer, the Defendant has to either: File a written response to the lawsuit within 20 days (balance over $5,000), or attend a small claims pretrial/mediation conference (balance under $5,000).
But, what if I ignore a credit card lawsuit and do not attend the pretrial or file a written response?
When a Defendant fails appear at the pretrial conference or timely respond to the Complaint, the opposing side may move for a default. Once a default is granted, a default judgment or final judgment may be entered. By failing to appear or respond, the Court reviews the supporting documentation, but almost always grants a judgment for full amount requested by the creditor or debt buyer.
FACT INFORMATION SHEET
As part of the default judgment, most courts will require you to complete a fact information sheet. The fact information sheet is a 2 to 3 page worksheet requiring you to disclose a great deal of personal financial information such as your employer, spouse’s employer, family income, savings/checking accounts, vehicle information, boats, etc. The fact information sheet must be returned notarized under penalty of perjury, and commonly with your most recent pay stubs, bank statements, vehicle titles, etc. Essentially, the Court requires you to provide all of the information necessary to help the creditor or debt buyer in collecting on the judgment.
The easiest, and most common, forms of judgment collection in Florida are wage garnishment and bank account attachment; however, other judgment collection remedies exist. There are certain exemptions to wage garnishment and bank account attachment.
COMMON DEFAULT QUESTIONS
What if the 20 day response time has passed, but the opposing side has not moved forward? You may be in luck, but it is important to file a response immediately. Pursuant to Florida Civil Rule 1.500(c), a party may plead or otherwise defend at any time before default is entered.
Can I have the default or default judgment overturned? Maybe. Assuming the judgment was entered properly, a default judgment may still be set aside or overturned upon demonstrating a mistake or excusable neglect, a meritorious defense, and due diligence in moving to overturn the judgment. Further, public policy favors setting aside defaults so that lawsuit may be decided on their merits, rather than a late response.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Scott C. Florin, Esq.
Tampa Debt Attorney Scott Florin at Florin Legal, P.A. handles cases throughout the State of Florida including credit card lawsuits, debtor harassment, and credit reporting errors.
Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.
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