April 23, 2024
How to Collect a Judgment in Florida

by Denis Kleinfeld

Winning a court-ordered judgment in Florida is a big step, but actually getting the money can be tough. As the winner, you hold certain rights to get what’s owed to you. By using Florida’s legal methods, like judgment liens and taking a portion of someone’s pay, you have a better shot at getting paid.

Key Takeaways:

  • To collect a judgment in Florida, it’s crucial to leverage the available enforcement mechanisms.
  • Understanding judgment liens can help establish priority among other creditors.
  • Property levies allow you to seize and sell the judgment debtor’s assets.
  • Filing a judgment lien on real property can secure your interest in its proceeds.
  • Garnishment is another option to collect the judgment debt directly from the debtor’s bank account or wages.

Understanding Judgment Liens in Florida

If you’re owed money in Florida, you have legal rights to help collect it. You can file a Judgment Lien Certificate with the state to improve your collection process. This can help place you ahead of others owed money, ensuring you get paid first.

A judgment lien in Florida lasts 5 years and gives you time to collect your debt. You can make this time longer by filing a second lien. This way, you keep your place and have more chances to get the money you’re owed.

Searching for what the person owes can also really help. You might find assets like bank accounts or valuable items. Knowing where to look makes collecting your debt more effective.

Benefits of Filing a Judgment Lien

Filing a judgment lien comes with big advantages for collecting your debt:

  1. It puts you at the front of the line to get paid.
  2. Secures your right on the debtor’s property, making it more likely you will recover the money.
  3. Makes your claim public, which can deter others from lending more money to the debtor.
Judgment Lien Validity 5 Years
Option to file a second lien for extension Yes

“By filing a judgment lien, you establish your priority as a creditor and increase your chances of recovering the debt owed to you.”

Knowing your rights and searching for the debtor’s assets are crucial in Florida. These approaches can speed up your collection and make it more likely you’ll get the money you’re owed.

Seizing and Selling Property through Levy

If someone owes you money and won’t pay, you have the right to seize their property in Florida. The sheriff’s department does this for you. They can take personal items or real estate that belongs to the person owing you. However, there are some things they can’t take, like a person’s home.

To start seizing their assets, first, get a Writ of Execution from the Clerk of the Court. This allows the sheriff’s department to take the debtor’s property. You must also tell the sheriff what to take in writing.

Sometimes, you might also have to learn more about what the debtor owns by talking to them about their money and things. This can help you pick the most valuable items to take. Knowing what they have can lead to a more successful collection.

It is key to do everything in line with the law when taking someone’s property. By following the correct legal steps and working with the sheriff’s office, you can better achieve your goal of getting back the owed money.

Garnishment Laws in Florida Debtor Examination Process
Seizing personal and real property Gathering information about the debtor’s assets
Writ of Execution from the Clerk of the Court Identifying valuable property for levy
Providing instructions to the sheriff’s department Strategic selection of properties to seize

garnishment laws Florida

Auctioning Levied Property

When personal property is taken by the sheriff’s department, it’s sold at an open auction. The buyer must pay in cash. Then they become the new owner.

If you’re the judgment creditor, you can also bid. First, you need to make sure the property doesn’t have other debts or interests. You also have to tell other creditors about the auction. The sale must also be put in the local paper. After selling the property, the money is handed out in a certain way. Costs for the sheriff come first. Then, you as the judgment creditor get paid. If there’s more money, they pay the other creditors in the order they filed their claims.

Filing a Judgment Lien on Real Property

You can secure your interest by filing your judgment in the county’s real estate records. This puts a lien on the property, letting you claim a share of its sale. Remember, judgment liens on properties don’t go to the Department of State.

In Florida, such a lien lasts for 10 years. You can renew it for another 10 years to keep your place as a priority.

Collecting Debts through Garnishment

Apart from selling items, you can get what’s owed by garnishing wages or bank accounts. Garnishment allows you to take money from their account or job. It’s a good way to make sure you get paid.

When doing this in Florida, you need to follow specific steps. You should file needed paperwork with the Court. This includes a motion and an affidavit. Make sure to talk to a lawyer or research Florida law to do this the right way.

Remember, the Clerk’s office won’t give you these papers or help prepare them. So, understanding the process is key.

Garnishing Bank Accounts

For bank accounts, give the bank the right documents. Include a writ and how to process it. The bank will then lock the account’s funds. This lets you collect the owed money.

Garnishing Wages

To garnish wages, the employer must be told. They then take a part of the paycheck and send it to you. But, only a set amount can be taken out. This is to ensure the debtor can still live.

Did You Know? A deep look into the debtor’s finances can show where they get money. This helps you choose the right way to collect what they owe.

Florida’s garnishment rules can be tricky. It’s very important to get the steps right. Doing so boosts your chances of getting the debt fully paid. An attorney with experience in this area can offer the help you need.

judgment debtor assets search

Pros Cons
Allows direct seizure of funds from the debtor’s bank account or wages. There may be exemptions that limit the amount of funds that can be garnished.
Provides another avenue for debt collection in addition to property levies. Requires careful preparation and compliance with garnishment laws and procedures.
Can be an effective way to collect the judgment debt if the debtor has available funds. May not be successful if the debtor has no funds in their bank account or is unemployed.

Renewing Judgment Liens and Extending Collection Efforts

As a judgment creditor in Florida, being proactive is key to keep your collection efforts effective. It’s important to remember the expiration dates of judgment liens. These liens usually last for 5 years. You can make them last another 5 years by filing a second lien. By doing this right, you make sure you get your money from the debtor’s property first.

By renewing your judgment liens, you get more time to try and get your money back. This keeps you legally protected for a longer time, thus letting you continue your collection attempts.

Exploring Post Judgment Collection Strategies

Other than just renewing judgment liens, it’s smart to look at different ways to collect the debt. This includes using specific attorneys to help enforce the judgment and trying out some other ways to solve the issue without going to court.

Getting help from a judgment enforcement attorney can be really helpful. They know how to work with post-judgment collections and can help you by making sure everything is done right. This can make it more likely for you to get the money owed to you.

Trying things like mediation and negotiation can sometimes lead to an agreement with the debtor without a court battle. It can make it easier to come to an agreement and might help speed up the process of getting paid.

Staying Diligent and Persistent

Renewing judgment liens and looking into different collection strategies need you to be diligent and to keep trying. It’s about being active in your efforts and getting help when you need it. This boosts your chances of getting the money.

Don’t forget, dealing with getting paid after a judgment is not simple, and every situation is different. It’s crucial to know the latest laws and how to best handle your specific case in Florida.

Benefits of Renewing Judgment Liens and Exploring Collection Strategies
1. Maintains legal protection for an extended period
2. Increases your chances of recovering the owed funds 2. Post judgment collection strategies
3. Access to professional guidance and support 3. Judgment enforcement attorney Florida
4. Provides options for alternative dispute resolution 4. Exploring alternative dispute resolution methods

Consulting with a Judgment Enforcement Attorney

Navigating the post-judgment collection in Florida is tricky and slow. Getting help from a judgment enforcement attorney is wise. They provide important advice and help during this tough time. A skilled judgment enforcement attorney in Florida can guide you on your rights as a creditor.

They will find the best ways to collect money in your case. And they can deal with any legal issues that come up.


Getting a judgment paid in Florida takes a smart plan and knowing your options well. You should use judgment liens, property levies, and garnishment to up your chances of getting the money back. It’s very important to follow the proper steps. Make sure you file and renew judgment liens on time to keep your place as a top priority to receive assets.

Start by looking closely at what assets the person who owes you money has. This step can offer key insights for how to go about getting your payment. It’s also a good move to ask for advice from a judgment enforcement lawyer. They can help you with their knowledge and backing during this complicated process.

Choosing the right ways to collect the debt, being persistent, and getting help from experts can lead to a good result. Always remember that each situation is different. You should adjust your plan based on your unique scenario. With calm, steady effort and using smart methods, you can work through the collection process in Florida. Achieving a positive outcome is possible.


How do I collect a judgment in Florida?

To get your payment in Florida, you can use different ways. These include judgment liens, property levies, and garnishment. By using these tools, you can make sure the debtor pays you.

What are judgment liens and how can I use them?

Judgment liens give you a special place in line to get paid. When you file a judgment lien certificate, you make sure you get paid before others do.

Can I seize and sell the debtor’s property to collect a judgment debt?

Yes, you’re able to take and sell what the debtor owns. This is done with the Sheriff’s help. Certain things, like essentials, are not for sale.

How does the auctioning of levied property work?

Levied items are sold to the highest cash bidder at an auction. As the creditor, you can also bid on the items if you want.

How do I file a judgment lien on real property?

To put a lien on the debtor’s land, file a copy of your judgment. This file goes to the real estate records office in the property’s county. It secures your right to the land or the money from its sale.

Can I collect the judgment debt through garnishment?

Yes, you can take money from the debtor’s bank or wage through garnishment. Start by filing the right forms at the Court Clerk’s office.

How long are judgment liens valid in Florida?

Judgment liens last for 5 years in Florida. Yet, you can keep it for another 5 years by filing again.

Should I consult with a judgment enforcement attorney?

Yes, it’s wise to talk to an attorney about enforcing the judgment. They offer help to make the collection smoother. They guide you on your rights and handle tricky legal parts.

What are some post-judgment collection strategies to consider?

Besides liens, levies, and garnishment, think about other ways to collect. Being persistent and looking at all options helps get the debt.