In previous posts, we have given an overview of judgment liens, including what must be included in the underlying judgment, and have described how to obtain judgment liens on real property and personal property. If a creditor successfully collects full payment or accepts a lower amount in satisfaction on a judgment that has been perfected (i.e., made into a lien on property), there are requirements that it must follow to properly document the satisfaction.
Under the Florida Statutes, a judgment creditor has 60 days after accepting full payment of the amounts due on a judgment to sign and record a “Satisfaction of Judgment” and to send a copy of that document to the judgment debtor. The Satisfaction should be signed by the creditor (or creditor’s assignee), but may, in some instances, be signed by the attorney of record in the underlying case. If a creditor refuses to sign a Satisfaction, the debtor may bring an action to compel it, and may be awarded attorneys’ fees and costs if the debtor prevails.
As an alternative, the debtor has the option to pay the full amount of the judgment into the registry of the court. The clerk of the court will then sign and file a Satisfaction, with notice to the creditor by certified mail. The creditor may apply to the clerk for release of the funds from the registry, less any expenses or fees incurred by the clerk. However, if the creditor cannot be located, the clerk is not obligated to make any effort to find such creditor.