First things first. I am not an attorney and nothing that is written in this article or on this website should be consider legal advice. Only an attorney can give legal advice. I am only giving my legal opinion. I do not know if what is written in this article even applies to your specific situation. This is just general information that I am providing because I found a sample motion to enlarge time on the Clerk of Court of Nassau County’s website and I thought that information might be useful to others.
In foreclosure in the state of Florida, the mortgage company or bank has to go through a judicial process. This means a lawsuit is filed by the plaintiff (the mortgage co. or bank) against the defendant (the property owner). This can be done either by in-hand service (where a process server physically hands the summons/complaint to you or a member of your household) or by publication (where they just publish your name in an obscure legal periodical) – either way, you have been served and the clock is ticking.
You have twenty days to file something in your case. After the twenty days expires, then a default can be entered against you. If a default is entered then the file moves very quickly through the court and you could have a summary judgment hearing on the docket soon after and then on that day the Judge could set your auction date and that could be as soon as 30 days after the summary judgment hearing. So, filing something in your case- really anything – is important to avoid the clerk entering an administrative default. If you file something in the case but it doesn’t amount to a pleading or defense in the case, then the plaintiff can still make a motion for default and be granted that motion. This begs the question, what should be done or what should be filed within that twenty days?
The best answer is to hire an attorney before this twenty-day time expires. If you need a referral to an attorney anywhere in the entire state of Florida who specializes in foreclosure defense then let me know and I will let you know who I feel is competent and reasonably priced. I do not get anything for recommending an attorney aside from the goodwill it fosters and the fact that if a short sale is ultimately sought then it will come back to me because that is what I do.
But you might be reading this because you do not have the money to hire an attorney today. There is a legal aid referral listed somewhere in your summons but I can tell you from past experience that there is a waiting line for that and while it is better than nothing, it is not the best game plan. They are only going to devote so much time to your case and not aggressively defend against it, but like I mentioned if you don’t mind waiting in line then it is better than nothing.
This brings me to the reason I wrote this article. There was a motion to enlarge time that I found on the Clerk of Court of Nassau county: nassauclerk.org/_files/MOTIONORDERTOENLARGETIMEFORMS.pdf
There are 67 counties in the state of Florida but Nassau was the only one that I found that had this form and instructions on their website. This can be filed by the defendant pro se (which means without an attorney) and if filed within the twenty-days then the Judge can grant the defendant additional time beyond the twenty days in order for them to seek an attorney to defend the case.
I went through the forms linked above and created the one that I would use if I was defending against a foreclosure which was filed against myself on a property in any of the 67 counties within the state. I do not know if this form contains errors and I certainly don’t know if this applies to your situation. I just thought it was interesting and might be useful to someone, so here it is:
Example of a Completed Motion to Enlarge Time – Florida foreclosure