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Foreclosure Defense
1. Have you been served with a Complaint?

If you have, your rights may be materially affected if you do
not enter a timely and appropriate written response to the
lawsuit within twenty (20) days of the date in which you were
served. The Response must be timely filed with the Clerk of
Court in the appropriate jurisdiction before the 20 days from
the date of service have lapsed, or the Lender may apply to
the Court for what is commonly known as a Default. The
significance of a Default is that you will be prevented from
asserting any defenses you may have to the lawsuit, and a
Judgment can be entered against you very quickly after that
has occurred, severely prejudicing your legal rights.

The Response to the lawsuit may take various forms, including
a Motion for Enlargement of Time, a Motion to Dismiss, or an
Answer and Affirmative Defenses. A Motion for Enlargement of
Time merely asks the Court to grant you additional time to
formulate an appropriate written response within a specified
number of days. A Motion to Dismiss takes the legal position
that the lawsuit should be dismissed in its current form because
the Complaint contains certain defects in pleading or otherwise
fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. Finally,
an Answer and Affirmative Defenses is deemed to be an
appropriate written response to the lawsuit, and the Affirmative
Defenses set forth various applicable legal basis to potentially
prevent a judgment from being entered against you should you
be able to prove the applicability of those defenses.

At Law Offices of Douglas J. Jeffrey, P.A., we will work with you
to formulate a timely and appropriate written response which
attempts to protect your legal rights in the best manner available
to you under the current existing state of the law and facts.

2. Do you want to perform a Short Sale or Modification?

In the event that you are no longer able to own the property,
or continue making the regular payments, there are several
potential alternative avenues which you may pursue in an
attempt to protect your legal rights, including your homestead
or investment property. A Short Sale is an attempt to sell your
property for an amount which is lower than the amount currently
owed to the Lender(s) who have valid mortgage(s) on the
property. Many times, a Lender will agree to a Short Sale and
approve it, and further, may agree to allow you to walk away
from any deficiency amount free and clear once the sale has
been consummated at a closing. A Loan Modification is another
possibility if you are able to retain your home, and this would
provide for potentially lesser payments to be made to the
Lender(s) over an extended period of time, as well as the
potential for some debt forgiveness, an abatement on paying
any arrearage, and/or the lowering of the interest rate which
you will be charged during the life of the modified loan. Finally,
certain property owners may qualify for a Deed in Lieu, subject
to meeting applicable eligibility requirements.

At the Law Offices of Douglas J. Jeffrey, P.A., we realize that
bankruptcy is not always an option for the property owner, and
we determine whether a Short Sale, Deed in Lieu, or Loan
Modification may be appropriate for you, in addition to evaluating
whether Bankruptcy is a viable or more appropriate option.

In the event you have been served with a lawsuit, it will be
necessary to timely and appropriately defend that lawsuit while
you attempt to pursue a Short Sale or Modification, and we are
available to handle all legal aspects of the process for you. In
the event that you decide to pursue a Short Sale, we will work
with your licensed realtor, or we may introduce you to a licensed
realtor who will be able to assist you in connection with the
Short Sale process. For additional information on the Short
Sale process, you may click on the Short Sale icon for more
information or view the website of www.sergioduran.com.
Our law firm will also provide assistance in any Short Sale
negotiations.


3. Is Bankruptcy right for you?

Depending on your circumstances, it may be necessary for you
and/or your spouse or co-signer to seek the protections which
may be available under federal Bankruptcy laws. In making
this determination, we will discuss your objectives and determine
the appropriate vehicle for you to attempt to achieve your goals,
including the possibility of a Bankruptcy.

However, the Law Offices of Douglas J. Jeffrey, P.A. is not in the
business of merely “selling” bankruptcies to its clients, so you
may be presented with various other options in lieu of
Bankruptcy that may be more appropriate for you. In making
such a determination, we will also need to discuss your current
financial situation in detail, including all assets and liabilities,
and any other considerations which could affect your decision
as to whether a Bankruptcy is appropriate or advisable under
your present predicament.


4. What do I do if there is a Motion for Summary
Judgment pending?

In the event a lawsuit is filed against you, you may soon learn
that a Motion for Summary Judgment is pending against you.
The significance of the filing of this Motion cannot be
understated to you, as this is an attempt by the Lender to obtain
a Final Judgment against you, and to proceed forward with
Foreclosure and seek any deficiency against you. It is
irrelevant that you may be in the process of attempting to
perform a Short Sale, Deed in Lieu, or Loan Modification,
because the Lender may be entitled to pursue the lawsuit
irrespective of any ongoing negotiations it may be having with
you in an attempt to work out some other alternative
arrangement.

In the event a Motion for Summary Judgment has already been
filed against you, the Law Offices of Douglas J. Jeffrey, P.A. will take
all precautions that are reasonably necessary and appropriate
in an attempt to prevent the entry of Final Judgment, including
seeking Leave to Amend any prior Answer with applicable
Affirmative Defenses, propounding appropriate written discovery
including Request for Admissions, Interrogatories, and Request
for Production, taking depositions, or acquiring the necessary
Affidavits in a good faith attempt to defeat the Lender’s efforts.

In the event we are handling your case and a Motion for
Summary Judgment is filed by the Lender, we will keep you
fully informed so that you may determine whether your options
have changed or whether you should also consider pursuing a
different avenue in an attempt to protect your legal interests.
We will additionally take all steps reasonably necessary and
appropriate to make the Lender prove its case and provide to
us the necessary supporting documentation and information
which reveals that it may pursue a lawsuit against you. We will
propound discovery in an attempt to make the Lender prove
its case, with an eye toward disproving any entitlement to
Summary Judgment or to maintain its lawsuit against you.

5. What can I do if I was Defaulted improperly and
I wish to save my Property?

It may be the current situation that you already have a pending
Mortgage Foreclosure lawsuit which was not appropriately
defended, resulting in a Default against you. Even if you have
been Defaulted, under certain circumstances, Florida law
provides for an opportunity to attempt to set aside the Default
against you, assuming that you move very quickly to set it aside
under a legitimate basis provided for by law and setting forth
meritorious defenses, all of which must be done under oath. If
you find yourself in this situation, it is necessary that you seek
out immediate legal help, as your legal rights are being
adversely affected and failure to properly address the situation
may significantly affect your legal rights, including the ability to
properly defend against any alleged damages.

6. Is it too late if there is a pending Sale Date?

It may be that you find yourself in a situation where there is
currently a Sale Date, which means that a Final Judgment was
already entered against you and the property is scheduled to be
sold at a Foreclosure Auction. Under these circumstances, there
may still be viable options available to you if you attempt to
move quickly. Again, you should seek legal advice right away
to see if the Sale Date can be cancelled and to determine
whether other options may be available to you, including an
attempt to set aside the Final Judgment, to have a Short Sale
performed prior to any such Sale Date, or whether the Sale
Date may be otherwise postponed or cancelled.


7. What if I want to delay the Foreclosure on my
Property?

It may be that you currently wish to delay the legal proceedings
to continue living at the Property for as long as you can, or to
continue accepting the rental income from that Property. To be
clear, there is nothing improper with forcing the Lender to prove
its case, as this is a fundamental right that is provided for all
individuals. We will not improperly delay any legal proceedings.
The Lender, however, always carries the burden of proof in
proving its case against you. In many instances, you will find
that your Property has been bundled and sold off time-and-time
again, and it will be unclear as to whether the true owner of the
Mortgage and Note is in effect attempting to take possession of
the Property, or whether it is merely someone else who claims
ownership and does not have a right to do so. Additionally,
there may be other valid legal defenses which have not been
raised, properly raised, or otherwise aggressively pursued
during the discovery phase of the litigation.

The Law Offices of Douglas J. Jeffrey, P.A., will under all
reasonable circumstances attempt to make the other side prove
its case to the fullest extent permissible by law, as this is your
entitlement pursuant to the law. In some instances, the Plaintiff
in the lawsuit will be unable to provide the requisite
documentation establishing their entitlement to proceed, and
under those circumstances, you will always be within your right
to require the Lender to prove its case as a matter of law.

8. Does hiring a lawyer make a difference?

We strongly suggest that you retain a licensed Florida attorney
with experience in handling foreclosure lawsuits, as well as
creditor/debtor rights, banking law, bankruptcy, real estate,
and commercial litigation. The legal team at the Law Offices of
Douglas J. Jeffrey, P.A. has the requisite experience to develop
and implement an appropriate legal strategy for you, and we will
take the time to get to know you and understand your situation
to present the pros and cons of any option which may be
available to you.

Non-lawyers frequently find it difficult to navigate through the
legal system. Understanding the applicable substantive law, the
Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, and the Florida Rules of
Evidence is essential to developing a proper legal strategy and
lodging a timely and appropriate legal defense. Furthermore,
strong advocacy skills, both written and oral, can also make a
difference in presenting your legal position persuasively and
effectively to the Court, and an experienced attorney should
have the requisite level of education, training and experience to
add value to your case.

Notwithstanding, Florida law allows non-lawyers to represent
themselves in any lawsuit, except in the circumstances of a
corporate entity. An individual may always represent himself or
herself in a lawsuit if he/she is named individually. A corporate
entity named as a Defendant, however, must retain counsel who
is licensed in the State of Florida, or any filings made by the
Corporation are a nullity.

Beware of Charlatans, Non-lawyers are not permitted or
qualified to assist you with the defense of your lawsuit. If you
are unsure as to whether an individual is a licensed attorney in
Florida, you may conduct an attorney search at
www.floridabar.org and verify whether he or she is a member
of the Florida Bar.

Also, you are entitled to receive written materials setting forth
a lawyer’s credentials, including licensure, education, training
and experience. Douglas J. Jeffrey will present you with written materials setting forth his credentials upon request.