In Florida, the foreclosure process begins when a bank or mortgage company files a foreclosure lawsuit and records a lis pendens.

A notice of lis pendens is recorded in public record of the county where the property is located. The borrower is then served with a summons and foreclosure complaint. The bank or mortgage company also generally names any other person or entity that may have a legal claim to the property as defendants, including holders of second mortgages or home equity lines of credit, homeowners or condominium associations, and municipal or county governments asserting claims or liens for unpaid taxes or code enforcement fines. Some lenders also commonly name unknown tenants and unknown spouses as defendants.

After a process server or sheriff serves the foreclosure summons and complaint on the borrower, a notice of process is filed with Clerk of Courts. The homeowner then has only 20 days to file a response. If the homeowner fails to do this within 20 days, the attorneys representing the lender can move for a default to be entered.

In our experience, law firms that represent banks in foreclosure actions often fail to move entry of a default. In that case, even if it has been more than 20 days since you were served, you may still be able to defend the case and fight foreclosure. In some situations, the lender’s attorneys fail to move for a default for months. It is very important that you consult with an experienced foreclosure defense lawyer even if you didn’t respond in 20 days. There may still be time for you to defend your case and assert your legal rights.

If you have been served with a foreclosure lawsuit or notice of foreclosure, our firm is here to help you and guide you though the process and inform you of your rights.

Remember, from the time you are served, you only have 20 days to retain an attorney to respond on your behalf and raise legal defenses. Waiting too long can damage your legal rights. Contact us today for a free consultation to find out how we can help you.