Can You Collect Attorney’s Fees for Post-Judgment Collections?

RAK Law Firm Team

Good news! Even if the basis for your underlying case (a contract, statute or other writing) does not include an attorney’s fee provision, you may still have options for the recovery of your post-judgment collection attorney’s fees and costs.

What Does It Mean for Your Case to Be “Post-Judgment?”

Post-judgment collections refers to the process of enforcing a final judgment after it has been issued in a case to collect the amounts due to a judgment creditor.

When a monetary judgment is issued in favor of one party that party is referred to as the “judgment creditor”. The party the monetary judgment is entered against (the “judgment debtor”) is legally obligated to either pay a specific amount of money and/or fulfill another obligation determined by the court.

Does Obtaining a judgment Guarantee Payment?

No. Simply obtaining a judgment does not guarantee compensation or compliance by the judgment debtor.

This is where the process of post-judgment collections begins.

What Are Some Examples of Post-Judgment Collection Avenues?

Post-judgment collection may include different collection processes to enforce the judgment and recover the awarded amount.

Some examples of collection processes include:

  • Wage Garnishment
  • Bank Account levy
  • Property lien
  • Asset seizure
  • Judgment attachment against third parties

How Do You Collect Attorney’s Fees for Post-Judgment Collections Efforts?

Fla Stat. §57.115(1) provides: “The court may award against a judgment debtor reasonable costs and attorney’s fees incurred thereafter by a judgment creditor in connection with execution on a judgment.” This statute has been interpreted by the courts in our area to mean a court has the authority to award a judgment creditor its attorney’s fees and costs in connection with its execution on a judgment. In making this determination, the court will consider: (a) whether the judgment debtor has attempted to avoid payment of the judgment and; (b) other factors as may be appropriate in determining the value of the services provided or the necessity for incurring costs in connection with the execution.

It should be noted that courts have examined areas where they feel an award of fees is appropriate. One example of where courts have determined an award of attorney’s fees is not appropriate under the circumstances is when a judgment creditor is able to recover some or all of the amounts due via a bank account garnishment. The court in Paz v. Hernandez, 654 So. 2d 1243 (Fla. 3rd DCA 1995), found that remedies available under §57.115 do not apply to garnishment proceedings under §77.01., but do arguably apply to more in-depth/extensive collection efforts.

What if the Judgment Debtor Transfers Their Property to Another Person/Entity, Do the Florida Statutes Award Attorney’s Fees for That?

When a judgment debtor transfers their property to another person or business entity, this could be considered a “fraudulent transfer”. Fraudulent transfers and the remedies for judgment creditors in the event thereof are governed by Chapter, 726, Florida Statutes. There is no attorney’s fee provision in Chapter 726 for fraudulent transfer actions. However, section 726.108(1)(c)3, Florida Statutes, otherwise known as the “catchall provision,” authorizes courts to grant “[a]ny other relief the circumstances may require.” Fla. Stat. § 726.108(1)(c)3.

How Can We Help You Recover The Amounts Due to You Under a Judgment?

Our team of collections attorneys can help you identify the right course of action. They can help provide you with counsel to formulate a collections strategy needed to pursue maximum compensation.

For all your collections questions and needs, please contact RAK Law Firm, PLLC online or at (407) 437-0319.

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