I stopped paying my credit cards 3 years ago becauseof loss of employment. I am currently in the process of selling my mobile home; I received a court notice that an attorney for a credit card has filed with the court system for a judgement on the debt, and I have to meet with a mediator on July 16th. I wanted to know if I should sell my mobile home before or after settling the judgement. How much time would I have to pay the judgement? if I agree to a payment plan, will other debtors be notified and file through the court so I could pay them as well? What happens if I don't pay the judgement? Can the court take the money I receive from the sale or my personal belongings to pay off the debt? Will bankruptcy be an option after selling my mobile home and can I include the judgement?
Why would you consider selling your mobile home? In Florida, a person's primary residence can not be taken to satisfy debts to creditors--other than the lender if you are making payments on the mobile home.
It appears that you have been sued in Small Claims Court--that is the procedure used when claims are for $5,000.00 or less. Here is how it works Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie and Broward Counties--I do not practice in Miami-Dade: the case is called, when a mediator is available you and creditor's attorney go with the mediator, who will try to work out a payment arrangement. The Florida Supreme Court has approved a Stipulation--legal term for agreement--that has fill-in-the-blanks to set up a payment arrangement. The official form has a provision that a judgment will not be entered against you as long as you keep the payments current. So, you are assuming that you will have a judgment against you, when that should not be the case.
If you come to an agreement, there is no "report". While judgments are listed on credit reports, Stipulations aren't. So, unless another creditor takes the time to review the Clerk's docket to see if you were sued, and then looks at the contents of the case history, they will not know if there is a payment arrangement in place.
If you do not make payments and a judgment is entered, the creditor will try to garnish wages or bank accounts. I say that with a certainty since it is the least expensive way to try to collect on a judgment. As I mentioned, the creditor can not touch your mobile home. Any IRA or 401k or 403a or 403b or similar account can not be touched. In Palm Beach County, the Sheriff requires the creditor to come up with $2,000.00 to levy on a car. The amount in Miami-Dade could be more, or less, but either way, it would be much more than the amount for a garnishment.
When it comes to personal property, my county's sheriff would want more than $5,000.00 to go into a residence. Actually, that figure is what I was quoted about 15-20 years ago, Needless to say, my client did not want to come out of pocket with that much money.
As for bankruptcy, I recommend that if my clients are going to file BKC they do it before a judgment is entered, not after. Now that you know that your mobile home is safe, there is no need for you to sell it.
One thing I will comment on--you seem to indicate that you are going to sell everything you own. What would you do with the money? Where would you keep it? If you are trying to hide it, then file for bankruptcy, you would be committing bankruptcy fraud, which is a crime. If you have really really really nice things, then you might prefer to work out a payment arrangement so you don't have to sell them. I would estimate the amount of monthly payments to run from $50 to $100, depending upon the amount of the claim. Also, do not be surprised to be told the creditor will want to include its court costs, which is proper, and an attorney's fee if they have sued on a document that contains and attorney's fee provision. If there is no such document, then they are not entitled to attorney's fees. Figure on a fee of $300-500 for services rendered for creditor so far, and the amount is negotiable.
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I agree with the prior response. What is the reason for selling? Are you definitely moving or are you just trying to protect an asset from creditors? You might have a particular reason to sell now. How much money would be raised? Once you sell a homestead the funds are not exempt from creditors unless you use the funds to buy another homestead(or put the money in a separate account for the sole purpose of buying another homestead within a reasonable time).
You should consult an attorney regarding your circumstances.
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