What is Non-Jury Trial in a Florida Foreclosure?

As a result of the devastation caused by the housing crisis a few years ago, more and more foreclosures were being initiated. The courts became inundated with foreclosures, so much so that years were passing without cases being resolved due to the backlog of foreclosures.

In response to this overwhelming issue, Administrative Order 3.312 became effective on March 22, 2013. Purposed at concluding cases that had been waiting for a court hearing, this order allowed any cases filed more than three years ago to be set for mass trials. While the finality that this order brings to the mass amount of foreclosure cases could be viewed as positive, as it greatly reduces the number of cases on a docket over a prolonged time, it also likely means the market will become oversaturated with foreclosure sales. More homes falling victim to foreclosure at once, instead of spread out over years, means more homes likely to be going up on the market upon court foreclosure approval.

One method being used to speed these cases through the court system is a non-jury trial. In a Florida foreclosure, this means that the homeowner and lender must present the case to a judge, instead of to a jury, and the judge has the sole discretion in granting or denying the foreclosure. For homeowners, it is crucial to attend these trials in order to have a chance at fighting for your home. It is even better if you have an attorney on your side.

Because judges want to finish as many cases as possible in as little time as possible, it is almost impossible to extend or cancel a foreclosure trial. If you are the subject of one of these non-jury trials, or a traditional foreclosure trial, it is now essential to get an attorney on board as soon as possible, in order to have the most time to prepare. Where once attorneys could file for deadline extensions, the courts are now more likely to strictly stick to the predetermined schedule, leaving no room for error. By consulting with a qualified attorney, you will be able to learn about the options available to you that can be negotiated within the timeline assigned to your particular foreclosure case.