Creditors’ Rights FAQ

Florida provides creditors a broad array of powers to collect upon judgments against judgement debtors, but those powers are subject to strict rules and requirements. Dal Lago Law’s attorneys help creditor clients identify, freeze, and seize assets from judgment debtors to satisfy their judgments.

Numerous assets are exempt from forced sale or seizure under Florida law, meaning judgment creditors cannot take those assets from judgment debtors without appropriate consent. The most commonly exempt asset in Florida is a person’s homestead, but even Florida’s homestead exemption has exceptions. Dal Lago Law’s attorneys are well-versed in Florida’s asset exemption laws. When possible, we help creditor clients maximize recovery by challenging questionable claims of exemption.

To enforce a judgment from outside of Florida—another state, or even another country—judgment creditors must first domesticate the so-called “foreign” judgment. The Florida Enforcement Judgments Act (or “FEFJA”) regulates domestication of judgments from any other state, territory or commonwealth of the United States, or the United States itself. The Uniform Out-of-Country Foreign Money-Judgment Recognition Act (“UFCMJRA”) regulates domestication of judgments by “any governmental unit other than the United States, or any state, district, commonwealth, territory, insular possession thereof, or the Panama Canal Zone, the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, or the Ryukyu Islands, to the extent such judgments grant or deny a sum of money other than taxes, fines, or other penalties. Domesticating a foreign judgment in Florida can be straightforward, but often requires a thorough knowledge of Florida law. Dal Lago Law’s attorneys use FEFJA and UFCMJRA to domesticate foreign judgments against judgment debtors domiciled in Florida.

Some creditors mistakenly believe bankruptcy forecloses all debt collection opportunities, but the opposite can be true. Dal Lago Law’s attorneys help creditor clients assess their likelihood of recovery. From there, Dal Lago Law’s attorneys can make informed suggestions to on how to proceed. In many cases, representation by Dal Lago Law can minimize costs and maximize collection.

Please do not do this without speaking to a team member at Dal Lago Law. Bankruptcy often imposes something called an “automatic stay”, which generally prevents collection efforts outside of bankruptcy court. There are some exceptions, however, that Dal Lago Law’s attorneys have used for the benefit of their clients.

Dal Lago Law’s practice is unique among peers in its singular focus on the intersection of debtors’ rights and creditors’ rights: that focus means effective and efficient client representation for creditor clients. Dal Lago Law’s creditor clients often leverage our bankruptcy expertise to maximize their recovery—which occasionally entails recovery in full. We are proud to be “lawyers’ lawyers”, and receive many referrals from nationally and regionally recognized law firms, as well as many local and state bankruptcy attorneys. Our founder, Mike Dal Lago, has been consistently recognized as an exceptional bankruptcy lawyer. Mr. Dal Lago is board certified as a business bankruptcy specialist, and is AV rated by Martindale Hubbell—its highest distinction awarded to attorneys. Christian Haman is nationally and regionally recognized as one of the best bankruptcy lawyers in Florida, and is honored to serve local and statewide legal organizations in various capacities. Dal Lago Law’s newest associate, Jennifer Duffy, boasts years of experience working in the real estate industry; more recently, she served as a clerk at the Delaware Supreme Court. All of Dal Lago Law’s attorneys are active members of the American Bankruptcy Institute, and are past, present, and future leaders of the Southwest Florida Bankruptcy Professionals Association. Dal Lago Law is a sophisticated bankruptcy firm with a very high level of experience serving business and judgment creditors in Florida, New Jersey, and New York.