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If you win a lawsuit for money, you will get a copy of the Court's judgment stating the amount of money the losing party must pay to you. The losing party is called the judgment debtor, and you, the winner, are called the judgment creditor.
If the judgment debtor does not pay, you are entitled to get the sheriff to seize the judgment debtor's property. The seizing of property by the sheriff is called a levy. Once the sheriff has levied on the property, the sheriff will then sell it, and pay you out of the money the sheriff receives from the sale. The process is called execution. There are a number of steps you must take.
You can obtain a judgment lien on all of the judgment debtor's personal property located anywhere in the state by filing a Judgment Lien Certificate with the Department of State. To get the proper form, visit the Department of State's website, where you can either download the form or request to have it mailed to you. Once you have filled out the form, you can either file it and pay the filing fee electronically, or mail it to the Department with the filing fee.
CAUTION: These liens don't last forever. They lapse, meaning they disappear, after 5 years. If there are liens ahead of you, you will move toward the front of the line as they lapse. But your lien will eventually lapse, too. So don't be lazy waiting for somebody else to levy on the debtor's property for you. After 5 years, you can file again and get another judgment lien, but if others have filed after your first filing, you will go to the end of the line.
You can obtain a judgment lien on the judgment debtor's real property by recording a certified copy of your judgment in the real estate record of the county in which the property is located. Such liens are not recorded with the Department of State. These liens last for ten years and they can be continued for another ten.
You can download forms at the Department of State's website, or call the Department of State, Division of Corporations, Judgment Liens Section, at 850-245-6039.
You may obtain a Writ of Garnishment on the debtor by filing the necessary paperwork with the Clerk of Courts. You will need to obtain the paperwork by consulting with an attorney or you will have to research Florida Statutes and create your own paperwork. The Clerk's office does not provide them and can not assist you.
When the debtor satisfies the Judgment, a Satisfaction of Judgment must be prepared by the creditor and delivered to the debtor. In order for the Judgment to show as satisfied, it must be recorded in Official Records.
If you need additional information please contact us at:
County Court - Summary Claims DivisionClerk of the Circuit Court - Martin County, Florida100 E Ocean Blvd., Constitutional Office BuildingP.O. Box 9016Stuart, FL 34995-9016
To view sample Small Claims forms, visit the forms section on our website.