April 17, 2024
Navigating Post-Judgment Discovery in Florida

Have you secured a final judgment against a party in a Florida court? Receiving a final judgment in a Florida court is a huge victory, but to collect on this judgment, the next critical phase of the legal process is post-judgment discovery. During post-judgment discovery, the party who obtained the judgment i.e. the judgment creditor, is entitled to discovery of information related to the assets, income, and other financial data of the judgment debtor, i.e. the party against whom the judgment has been entered. The judgment creditor can then “levy” or collect on these assets of the judgment debtor to satisfy the amount awarded in the judgment.

The Legal Framework of Post-Judgment Discovery

Rule 1.560 of the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure governs post-judgment proceedings and allows for a judgment creditor to obtain discovery from the judgment debtor (or any person) as provided in the rules. Among the most crucial tools for post-judgment discovery is the Fact Information Sheet.

A Fact Information Sheet, as mandated by Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.977, is a comprehensive document judgment debtors must complete after a final judgment has been entered against them. The Fact Information Sheet compels the debtor to disclose detailed information about that party’s assets, liabilities, and personal finances and even allows for the judgment creditor to request the income and assets of a judgment debtor’s spouse. Debtors are given 45 days after the judgment to submit the Fact Information Sheet to the judgment creditor or the judgment creditor’s attorney. Failure to comply can result in the judgment debtor being held in contempt of court, which may lead to various sanctions, including fines or imprisonment. The goal of the Fact Information Sheet is to provide judgment creditors a clear picture of the judgment debtor’s financial situation to assist in collecting on the judgment.

Additionally, judgement creditors are permitted by the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure to engage in other discovery proceedings to locate and identify assets of the judgment debtor. Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.350 allows judgment creditors to serve interrogatories on the judgment debtor to obtain information about the debtor’s assets, income, bank accounts, property ownership, and other financial matters relevant to satisfying the judgment. Furthermore, Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.350 allows judgement creditors to request the production of documents from judgment debtors, such as bank statements, financial records, deeds, titles, and any other documents related to the debtor’s assets.

Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.370 permits judgment creditors to serve requests for admissions on judgment debtors. These requests ask the debtor to admit or deny specific statements of fact related to their assets, liabilities, income, and other topics relevant to satisfying the judgment.

Finally, a judgement creditor can also utilize other discovery tools such as subpoenas and depositions to further investigate the judgment debtor’s financial situation and locate assets that could be used to satisfy the judgment.

By utilizing these discovery tools, judgment creditors can gather information that may lead to the discovery of hidden or undisclosed assets belonging to the judgment debtor. While challenges may arise in post-judgment discovery due to debtors either not complying with these discovery requests or attempting to hide their assets, it is important to note that the judgment debtor is legally obligated to respond to these discovery requests in accordance with the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure and that failure to comply may result in sanctions imposed by the court including—in some cases—incarceration of the debtor.

Post-judgment discovery in Florida is a powerful tool to identify and locate a debtor’s assets. However, given the complexity of this process, it is essential to seek the guidance of an attorney to navigate this process. If you are a judgment creditor and you need assistance with post-judgment discovery to locate the assets of the debtor, please contact Boatman Ricci at (239) 330-1494.

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THIS BLOG IS INTENDED FOR GENERAL INFORMATION PURPOSES ONLY. IT DOES NOT CONSTITUTE LEGAL ADVICE. THE READER SHOULD CONSULT WITH KNOWLEDGEABLE LEGAL COUNSEL TO DETERMINE HOW APPLICABLE LAWS APPLY TO SPECIFIC FACTS AND SITUATIONS. BLOG POSTS ARE BASED ON THE MOST CURRENT INFORMATION AT THE TIME THEY ARE WRITTEN. SINCE IT IS POSSIBLE THAT THE LAWS OR OTHER CIRCUMSTANCES MAY HAVE CHANGED SINCE PUBLICATION, PLEASE CALL US TO DISCUSS ANY ACTION YOU MAY BE CONSIDERING AS A RESULT OF READING THIS BLOG.

Published: April 17, 2024
Author: Bo Boatman
Categories : Uncategorized