Tampa, FL asked in Collections and Small Claims for Florida

Q: I missed a pretrial conference and had a judgment entered against me in small claims court. This is for assumed cc debt

I have a few questions about this:

I received the final judgment paperwork, but it is blank, it is not dated nor is it signed by a judge. Is this common, legal, binding?

Additionally, I do not recall this debt. In the summons, I only received a couple of statements with due balances and late fees. Wouldn't the plaintiff need to provide statements showing transactions, especially if I do not recall this debt? Can I request that?

Finally, due to that final judgment, my wages are now garnished. I filed an exemption (I make under $750/wk) yesterday. Will those garnished wages be released back to me immediately or will I have to wait until the hearing and hope the judge accepts the exemption to get those wages returned?

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2 Lawyer Answers
Barry W. Kaufman
Barry W. Kaufman
  • Collections Lawyer
  • Jacksonville, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: The judgment is probably conformed. In 22 years of practice, I have never seen a judgment not signed or dated.

Once you default, all the " I don't remember the debt" stuff goes out the window.

You will have a hearing on your claim of exemption. You must prove the exemption. If you prevail, the court will dismiss the garnishment and the garnished wages will be paid to you pursuant to your employer's policies.

Terrence H Thorgaard agrees with this answer

Terrence H Thorgaard
Terrence H Thorgaard
  • Freeeport, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: I'm guessing that the form of judgment is what the plaintiff's attorney sent to the judge to be signed. For some reason you didn't get a copy of the signed and entered judgment.

You were defaulted, so the plaintiff didn't need to prove its case as it would have need to do at trial.

You need to attend the exemption hearing and testify as to prove you are exempt.

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