You’ve been served with a foreclosure summons. Now what?!

The foreclosure lawsuit has been filed, the summons has been issued by the Clerk, and a process server or sheriff comes knocking on your door with those dreaded words, “you’ve been served.”

By all accounts, this is not a comfortable situation for anyone, but, you must act quickly, or run the risk of being on the fast-track to homelessness.

Foreclosure Notice Property GuidingFlorida law provides that once you have been served, you have twenty (20) days to respond to the complaint. The twenty (20) days does not include the day you were served, but does include weekends and holidays as long as the 20th day does not land on either. If so, you would have until the next business day to respond.

If not responded to within the allotted time, a “default judgment” can be entered against you, which would grant any and all relief that the lender seeks in their complaint. To avoid a “default judgment,” the homeowner’s attorney needs to answer the complaint, or if grounds exist, file an appropriate motion.

Needless to say, during this time of year, with Christmas and New Year’s right around the corner, twenty (20) days may not be sufficient time to hire an attorney and mount a defense.

If you have been served with a foreclosure summons, you can file a motion requesting more time so that competent counsel can be located and retained to represent you in the suit. The mere act of filing this motion is not legally sufficient to “guarantee” that you will get more time to respond. However, it is typically sufficient to stall the Plaintiff’s attorney from defaulting you on that basis. The motion is called a “Motion for an Enlargement of Time” and is readily available online. Be cognizant that if you ask for 20 days extra to respond, you need to find an attorney and respond within the additional time you requested.

Please do not confuse your ability to file this simple motion with your ability to represent yourself in a contested foreclosure. This motion should be relied on exclusively to afford you additional time to seek a foreclosure defense attorney.  Even though the law affords you the right to represent yourself, foreclosure laws/procedures can be complex and difficult to navigate and should not be attempted by a non-lawyer.

This is a generalized discussion and is not intended for any particular set of facts and should not be relied upon as such. If you’ve been served with a foreclosure summons, or are falling behind on your mortgage payments, you should seek a licensed Florida attorney to discuss your options. By no means does this blog create an attorney-client relationship or attorney-client privilege between the attorney and the readers. The law frequently changes as new cases are decided and published regularly. Anything relied upon in this or any blog, is done so at the readers own risk.

VERNON W. GUIRGUIS, ESQ.
The Guirguis Law Firm, PLLC
1423 S.E. 16th Place, STE 204
Cape Coral, Florida 33990
239.573.9939 Telephone
239.603.9939 Facsimile

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Posted on November 28, 2012, in Legal and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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