Florida is a judicial state; meaning, the lender – your mortgage company – must file a lawsuit through the state court system in order to initiate a foreclosure. This can occasionally slow the process down, but it does mean everything is highly regulated by the court system. The good news for you, as the homeowner, is that the foreclosure sale cannot occur before a foreclosure judgment has been entered by the judge.
In order to process a foreclosure, the lender files a complaint with the court. The court will then notify the borrower of the lender’s intent to foreclose. This summons will allow you between 20-30 days to respond. If you opt not to respond, the court will generally grant the default judgment to the lender, allowing the foreclosure to occur. If you do respond, the lender will have two different options: they can file a motion of summary judgment or go to trial.
A motion of summary, simply put, is when there are no disputes to the facts of the case. It is a judgment in which the court elects to favor the lender. This is the route most lenders tend to follow, as it is quicker than going to trial. The judge can decide to deny the motion of summary, sending the case to trial.
If your case is not strong enough and you lose at the trial, then a final judgment will be entered by the court against you – and the lender will be allowed to foreclose on your property. At this point, the sale of the house is allowed to occur.