BY ANDREW PEKOE/ASSOCIATE ATTORNEY – STEWART LAW GROUP
After a judgment is entered it can become very difficult for the creditor to actually collect on the money they are owed. For judgment creditors, relief can be found in the creditor-friendly and flexible Proceedings Supplementary procedures provided by Florida Statute 56.29. Under 56.29 the judgment creditor can assess the assets of the judgment debtor and implead, or bring in, third parties who possess assets of the debtor that can satisfy the judgment. Here are a few highlights for a judgment creditor to acquaint themselves:
- The Proceedings Supplementary may be filed at any time during the 20 year life of the judgment.
- A Proceedings Supplementary is not a new lawsuit. Rather the Court will issue a Notice to Appear upon the impleaded third party. The third party must then respond within the time frame set by the Court.
- No motion practice is permitted in the Proceedings Supplementary, this includes motions to dismiss.
- The creditor may compel the debtor to appear in Court and give testimony about their financial affairs.
- The debtor is entitled to a jury trial on whether the property should be seized and applied to the judgment satisfaction.
- This is separate from a cause action for fraudulent conveyance. If the judgment creditors wants to sue the third party for the fraudulent conveyance of property held by the debtor, the creditor must file a separate lawsuit.
Essentially, 56.29 functions as a discovery mechanism by which the creditor can find the assets of the debtor and seize them without incurring costly clerk’s filing fees for a fraudulent conveyance lawsuit.