Category Archives:
Foreclosure Defense

Two Attorneys Join Cleaveland & Cleaveland Team

We are excited to introduce Julia McLaughlin, Esquire, and Hillary Mesa, Esquire, who have recently joined the team at Cleaveland & Cleaveland, P.L.

Julia McLaughlin, Esquire, graduated from Princeton University in 1984, and from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1987. She became a member of the Wisconsin Bar in 1987, and the Pennsylvania Bar in 1987 and handled a variety of family law matters including divorce, parenting issues, child support, and prenuptial agreements. In 1998, Ms. McLaughlin joined the faculty of Villanova Law School, where she taught legal research and writing, and in 1999, joined the faculty of Widener University Law School, where she also taught legal writing. In 2004, she moved to Jacksonville, Florida, and joined the Florida Coastal School of Law faculty where she taught a wide variety of courses including Family Law, Children and the Law, Dependency Law, Juvenile Justice Administration, Domestic Violence, and Property Law. In 2015, she became a member of the Florida Bar.

Ms. McLaughlin has published widely in the area of family law and children’s rights. Some of her publications include: Taking Religion out of Divorce, 65 RUTGERS L. REV. 395 (2013); Exploring the First Amendment Rights of Teens in Relationship to Sexting and Censorship, 45 U. MICH. J. L. REFORM 315 (2012); Crime and Punishment: Teen Sexting in Context, 115 PENN. ST. L. REV. 135 (2010); The Fundamental Truth about Best Interests, 54 ST. LOUIS U.L.J. 113 (2009); 5) DOMA and the Constitutional Coming-out of Same-sex Marriage, 24 WIS. J.L GEN. & SOC’Y 145 (2009); Premarital Agreements & Choice of Law: “One, Two, Three, Baby You and Me,” 72  MO. L. REV. 793 (2007); Litigation Funding: Charting a Legal and Ethical Course, 31 VT. L. REV. 615 (2007); and Should Marital Property Rights Be Inalienable?  Preserving the Marriage Ante, 82 NEB. L. REV. 460 (2003).

Julia joined Cleaveland & Cleaveland, P.L. in 2018, where she brings over 30 years of legal and teaching experience to the practice, and will handle family matters such as divorce (including parental responsibility, equitable distribution, alimony, child support, and related issues), paternity (including parental responsibility, child support, and related issues), prenuptial agreements, postnuptial agreements, and family law appeals; and estate planning (including wills, trusts, advance directives, and power of attorney designations) and probate matters.

Hillary Mesa, Esquire, graduated with honors from the University of Florida, where she was a Dean’s List recipient, and received her law degree with honors from the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where she was a Dean’s List recipient, a student ambassador, and received book awards in Legal Research and Child, Parent, and State.

Ms. Mesa worked as a judicial extern for The Honorable Thomas M. Jaworski and as a legal extern in the felony division of the Crimes Against Women and Children Unit of the State Attorney’s Office.

She is a member of the Florida Bar, and is licensed to practice in the State of Florida, and the Middle District of Florida.

Hillary joined Cleaveland & Cleaveland, P.L. in 2018, and will handle consumer matters such as bankruptcy, debt defense, and foreclosure defense.

Posted in Alimony, Bankruptcy, Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, Debt, Divorce, Estate Planning, Family Law, Foreclosure Defense, Injunction, Paternity | Tagged , , , , , , , , , |

No HAMP? Now what? Other options to save your home from foreclosure…

The Home Affordable Modification Program, better known as HAMP, was launched by the U.S. Government in 2009 with the primary goal of helping struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure by reducing their monthly mortgage payments. As HAMP has now closed, homeowners are struggling to find options to avoid losing their home to foreclosure. If you are one of these homeowners that has been let down by the mortgage modification process or are running out of time to save your home from a foreclosure, a chapter 13 bankruptcy may be the next best option for you to consider. A chapter 13 bankruptcy can allow you to save your home from a foreclosure sale by paying back the arrearages, or the amount you are delinquent on your mortgage at the time of filing, through the chapter 13 bankruptcy plan over a period of five years. Along with the arrearages, your regular monthly mortgage payment will be paid through the chapter 13 bankruptcy plan. Upon completion of the chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will be current on your mortgage payments with the mortgage arrears paid in full, and your unsecured debt listed in the bankruptcy will be discharged.

Posted in Bankruptcy, Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, Foreclosure Defense |

The New Florida Foreclosure Bill and How It Affects Homeowners

In response to the increasing number of foreclosures filed in the state of Florida, state legislators have been working toward significantly reducing how long the foreclosure process lasts. This process often took several years to complete, resulting in either a trial or final hearing in front of a circuit court judge who, after hearing all of the evidence, would rule in favor of either the mortgage company or the homeowner. If the mortgage company ultimately prevailed, the circuit court judge would grant a final judgment of foreclosure and set a sale date of the home. The sale date would usually take place within one to two months of the entry of the judgment, at which point, the homeowner would be required to move from the property. 

In June 2013, a new foreclosure law was put into effect that considerably changed the foreclosure process. One noteworthy change in the law is that the mortgage company is required to certify in its complaint that they have the original note in their possession or have lost the original note. Overall, the length of time it takes to complete the foreclosure process has been shortened. The new foreclosure law also specifies that any lien holder, such as the homeowner’s association or mortgage company, can request the new expedited process or utilize the former longer process. Under the expedited process, homeowners are given less time to work toward a loan modification or settlement, and have less time to make arrangements to move from the home.

If the lien holder chooses the new expedited process, they can request from the court an order to show cause. If the court finds that all the requirements have been met by the lienholder, including verification of the complaint, and possession and right to enforce the note, it will enter an order to show cause to all defendants in the case. The purposes of the order to show cause are to set a hearing date, require defendants to file defenses prior to the hearing, and provide defendants with a list of certain rights under the new laws. Often times, the court will set the show cause hearing to take place in as little as two months following the initial complaint being filed.

The foreclosure process can be a complex and stressful process for many individuals. If you are behind on your mortgage payments and are worried a foreclosure is imminent, experienced foreclosure attorneys may be of assistance in that they can explain how the foreclosure process works, provide representation in a foreclosure lawsuit and/or discuss other options available to save your home, such as filing a chapter 13 bankruptcy.



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Posted in Bankruptcy, Foreclosure Defense | Tagged , , , , , |

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Can Save Your Home from Foreclosure

A chapter 13 bankruptcy is typically a repayment plan; however, a chapter 13 bankruptcy offers many options that a chapter 7 bankruptcy does not. One of those options is saving a home from foreclosure.

In a chapter 7 bankruptcy, the borrower must be current on his or her mortgage payments in order to keep his or her home. In a chapter 13 bankruptcy, the borrower does not have to be current, and has a choice as to how to make the past due payments.

In the chapter 13 bankruptcy, the borrower may either pay the arrearages on the mortgage through the repayment plan, or mediate and attempt to modify the mortgage entirely. Another benefit of filing bankruptcy is the ability to remove the lien of a second mortgage or other loan secured by the home, in certain circumstances.

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Posted in Bankruptcy, Foreclosure Defense | Tagged , , , |

Advice for Homeowners Facing Foreclosure

When faced with the thought of losing your home, many concerns and questions may pass through your mind. How can I stop this? Will my house be sold? Can I save my home?  – These questions are normal. The foreclosure process can be very confusing for individuals who do not know their legal options.

Once you are served with foreclosure papers, it is important to respond within 20 days. If you do not respond, the bank will likely “win by default”. If the bank wins by default, your home will likely be sold and you may be required to move very quickly. It is important to contact an experienced foreclosure defense attorney immediately upon being served with the foreclosure papers to discuss your options.

A foreclosure defense lawyer can explain the legal process to you, discuss what defenses you may have to the action, request the supporting documentation from the bank to determine whether they have the necessary evidence to win the case against you, and suggest alternative ways to save your home. Once retained, a foreclosure defense attorney will handle the legal aspects of your case, which will likely relieve a lot of stress.

In some cases, filing for bankruptcy may allow you to save your home. The attorneys at Cleaveland & Cleaveland, P.L. handle bankruptcy as well as foreclosure defense, and can help determine if bankruptcy is a better option for you.

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Posted in Bankruptcy, Foreclosure Defense | Tagged , , , , |