A fact information sheet in Florida is a financial disclosure form that a judgment debtor is typically required to fill out for the judgment creditor after the final judgment is entered. The form of the fact information sheet is set out by the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure. Upon the award of a final judgment, the creditor can ask the court to order the judgment debtor to complete the Fact Information Sheet and return it to the creditor, with related documents, within 45 days. The court typically will include in the final judgment itself an ordering paragraph pertaining to the debtor’s Fact Information Sheet.
Do You Have to Fill Out the Fact Information Sheet?
A court and judge can order you to complete a fact information sheet in Florida. Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.560(c) states:
- It is further ordered and adjudged that the judgment debtor(s) shall complete under oath Florida Rule of Civil Procedure Form 1.977 (Fact Information Sheet), including all required attachments, and serve it on the judgment creditor’s attorney, or the judgment creditor if the judgment creditor is not represented by an attorney, within 45 days from the date of this final judgment, unless the final judgment is satisfied or post-judgment discovery is stayed. Jurisdiction of this case is retained to enter further orders that are proper to compel the judgment debtor(s) to complete form 1.977, including all required attachments, and serve it on the judgment creditor’s attorney, or the judgment creditor if the judgment creditor is not represented by an attorney.
Often the final judgment entered against you will therefore require you to complete the fact information sheet within 45 days.
Under Florida law, the debtor must sign the Fact Information Sheet under oath, and intentional misstatements or omissions may be subject to perjury. Florida law requires the debtor to provide certain documents with the Fact Information Sheet, including tax returns, deeds, and car titles.
A debtor may request additional time to complete the Fact Information Sheet in Florida if, for example, the debtor’s financial situation is unusually complex or if the debtor needs to assemble documents stored elsewhere. If the debtor does not complete the Fact Information Sheet by the deadline, the creditor may ask the court for an order that provides a new deadline after which the debtor could be held in contempt of court.
In addition to the Fact Information Sheet, the creditor may use other discovery tools provided to litigants in the Rules of Civil Procedure (such as depositions in aid of execution, interrogatories, requests to produce, etc.).
Even if you’ve received a Fact Information Sheet form to fill out, it is not too late to protect your assets from collection. Many asset protection strategies are effective even after a judgment is entered.
Florida Form 1.977
The actual form of the Florida Fact Information Sheet is called Florida Form 1.977. Often the form 1.977 will be attached to the judgment when a copy of the judgment is given to you.
Keep in mind that Florida Form 1.977 is just the first salvo of questions that a monetary judgment creditor can ask you. In addition to requiring you to complete the form 1.977, a judgment creditor can use other discovery methods to find out additional information about your finances and financial history.
Many of our clients wonder if you have to include your spouse’s information on the fact information sheet if the spouse is not on the judgment. The answer is yes. Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.560(d) states:
- In any final judgment, if requested by the judgment creditor, the court shall include the additional Spouse Related Portion of the fact information sheet upon a showing that a proper predicate exists for discovery of separate income and assets of the judgment debtor’s spouse.
Regardless, in general, a judgment creditor can obtain a spouse’s financial information. It does not necessarily mean that the creditor can collect from the spouse—but they can get the information.
What Happens If You Don’t Fill It Out?
Not complying with the judge’s order to fill out the fact information sheet will often lead to a motion to compel filed by the creditor. The judge may then order you to show cause (in other words, explain why you ignored the original order), and if necessary issue a warrant for your arrest. The enforcement steps are as follows:
- A motion to compel debtor to answer the fact information sheet.
- Order compelling answers to the fact information sheet.
- Order to show cause as to why defendant did not complete the fact information sheet.
- Writ of bodily attachment (arrest).
What to Do Next
We help people go through their assets and income and determine what is at risk of collection from a judgment creditor. We then develop a plan to protect any exposed assets from collection. If you’re interested in protecting your assets from monetary judgment creditors, contact us or schedule an appointment online.