Rich Smukler is certified by the State of Florida in residential foreclosure mediation and has personally mediated hundreds of foreclosure cases. It seems things may have calmed down in Florida since the great banking and foreclosure crises, but there are fears that with the economic downtown expected due to the coronavirus pandemic that foreclosure with re-visit us with a vengeance. While not mandatory, by application of custom, practice, and local rules, most civil cases filed in Florida will be mediated by agreement or order at some stage in the litigation.
While commercial foreclosure is less common than residential foreclosure, it is still prevalent and more often subject to a greater possibility for negotiation between the parties. These cases can be extensively defended and litigated to the hilt.
Residential foreclosure litigation can run the full gambit. Oft times however, the bank holds most of the cards and takes the litigation in whichever direction they please. When parties appear before me pro se (without counsel) I am placed in a unique position of not being able to represent the interests of either party, appearing neutral and without bias, and yet insuring and protecting the sanctity of the law so that any agreements struck between the parties are legally sufficient to stand up in a court of law. While it is preferable for all parties to be represented, many parties can’t afford counsel and appear pro se.