Florida is one of the judicial foreclosure states. The process starts with the lender filing a complaint in court against you and then serves you with the summons and complaint. At that point, the ball is in your court. It is not an enviable position, to be sure, but it offers you a number of options that borrowers in default in many other states don't have -- the chance to respond. If you choose not to respond, the lender will file a motion of default.
Florida Foreclosure Process
The foreclosure process in Florida is centered on the lawsuit your lender files against you. Its position will be that you defaulted on your obligations to pay the loan, as set forth in the promissory note. The judge will review all documentation submitted in the case and either enter a judgment against you or rule against the lender. Assuming he enters a foreclosure judgment, the property is then scheduled for sale by auction. If no one bids more than the mortgage debt, the lender will take possession and sell it on the open market through a traditional sale.
Summons and Complaint
After the lender files suit, it will serve you with a summons and a copy of the complaint. The court will give you 20 days to file what is called an "answer" to the complaint. This will be your only opportunity to effect the timing and outcome of the foreclosure, so don't let the time pass without deciding what you want to do.
Some people fight their foreclosures, using defenses that range from the lender not owning the loan to unfair lending practices. Sometimes the borrower files the answer more to buy time in his house than to win the case. This is a valid choice in the process. You do not have to respond to the summons and complaint. It is entirely up to you. If you don't want a delay or to fight the foreclosure, ignoring the suit may be the best recourse. You can put your energy into regaining a financial foothold and finding a new place to live. The choice is entirely yours.
Motion of Default
If you fail to respond to the summons and complaint within the required time frame, the lender will file a motion of default. With this motion, it is asking the judge for a default judgment -- an expedited foreclosure against you. If the judge grants the motion, a hearing will not be required and the foreclosure will be granted.
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