Small Claims Court
Collecting on a Judgment Without a Lawyer
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Congratulations!! You filed a lawsuit in Small Claims Court and you won. Now what do you do?
1. Record your "Judgment" in the Public Record.
Without a lawyer most people would find it far too complicated to use the Court to seize the defendant's property (cars, real estate, fishing boats) or to initiate a "garnishment" (seize bank accounts and paychecks)
BUT, there are two relatively easy things that people can do without a lawyer to help collect on a judgment
to download the
Comprehensive Guide to Collecting on a Judgment
The "Public Record" is where deeds and mortgages are recorded. Putting your Judgment in the Public Record creates lien on any real estate that the Defendant owns. In other words, if he ever wants to sell or mortgage his property he'll have to pay you first.
How to do it:
2. Have the Court to Order the Defendant to Appear at a "Hearing in Aid of Execution".
- Get a certified copy of the judgment from the Court Clerk's office.
- Record the judgment - The fee is $10 for the first page and $8.50 for each other page
County Recorder's Office
22 NW First Street, 1st. Floor
Miami, Florida 33128
This forces the defendant to show up in Court and disclose information about their income, bank accounts and property. Use the following forms:
- Motion and Order for a "Hearing in Aid of Execution"
Use this "motion" to ask the judge to order the defendant to complete a "Fact Information Sheet" and to appear in Court to answer questions about his property, bank accounts, wages, etc. The form includes a "Order" for the judge to sign. After filling in the blanks take the Motion and Order to the office of the judge that entered the judgment and NOT the office of the Clerk of Court. Talk to the judge's assistant and (hopefully) they will be helpful.
- Order to Show Cause
IF YOU SHOW UP FOR THE HEARING AND THE DEFENDANT DOES NOT ask the judge to sign this Order It requires the Defendant to appear and explain ("show cause") why he or she should not be held in contempt of court. If the Defendant fails to appear at the show cause hearing the judge has the power (if he is so inclined) to declare the defendant to be in "contempt of court" and to issue an arrest warrant.