Florida is a judicial foreclosure state which means that all mortgage foreclosures must be conducted with court supervision and must be filed and heard by a court with jurisdiction over the matter. Typically, once you have been in default on your mortgage payments for 90 days the mortgage company will initiate foreclosure proceedings by filing a Summons, Lis Pendens, Complaint, as well as the Promissory Note and Mortgage with the Court. This step begins the foreclosure process and the mortgage company is then required to have these documents served upon you in accordance with Florida law. Service is most often accomplished by having the sheriff’s department or other authorized process server personally deliver all documents to the homeowner.
Once service has been accomplished the homeowner has 20 days to answer or else risks having a default judgment entered against him or her and having the home sold in 30-45 days. By hiring an attorney the homeowner can regain control over the process. It is essential that homeowners facing foreclosure consult with an attorney about their options. Often the attorney will be able to assert the homeowner’s rights by filing motions to dismiss, answers, or other legal documents that will slow down the process and even force the mortgage company to abandon the foreclosure altogether.