What Is a Judicial Foreclosure?

foreclosure, Wheaton real estate lawyersIf own your home, you probably are familiar with the concept of foreclosure. You more than likely know that if you fall seriously behind on your monthly mortgage payments, your lender has the legal right to initiate proceedings through which the lender can seize your home. What you may not realize, however, is that foreclosure is a rather complicated series of steps and that Illinois law mandates that the court system must handle the foreclosure process. This means that every foreclosure in the state is known as a judicial foreclosure.

How Other States Handle Foreclosure

There are 16 states, including Illinois, which require the courts to oversee foreclosures. Five other states use judicial foreclosures almost exclusively—but as a customary practice rather than a legal requirement. Non-judicial proceedings are used in the 29 remaining states, either as just an option or because the law prohibits judicial foreclosures.

In situations where there is no requirement for judicial foreclosure, the mortgage contract will often include a provision that grants the “power of sale” to the lender. This provision effectively allows the lender to foreclose and seize the property without going through the court system. If the homeowner does not make the payments required by the mortgage agreement, power of sale gives the lender the authority to take the home and sell it in an effort to recover the remainder of the loan balance. In Illinois, a power of sale provision is not enforceable.

State or Federal Court

In most cases, a lender will begin a foreclosure by filing a complaint in the appropriate county court based on the location of the property. Lenders have the option, however, of filing foreclosures in federal court instead. Some believe that federal courts act more efficiently on foreclosures that state-level courts do, but others say that it is harder for lenders to sell properties in federal foreclosures. The U.S. Marshall Service handles federal foreclosure sales, while that responsibility at the state level usually falls on the county sheriff’s department.

How to Handle a Notice of Foreclosure

Assuming that you are least four months behind on your payments, you most likely have received a notice of default in the mail. However, when the lender files for foreclosure, you must be personally served with notice of the lender’s filing. You have 30 days in which to file a response to the complaint and summons or the court could enter a default judgment in favor of the lender.

The best thing you could possibly do in such a situation is to immediately call a qualified lawyer to talk about your options. Your strategy for moving forward will depend on your unique circumstances, and it is important to act quickly.

Call a Wheaton Real Estate Attorney for Help

If you are facing possible foreclosure, contact an experienced Wheaton residential foreclosure attorney at Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath LLC today. Call 630-665-2500 to schedule a confidential consultation with a member of our team. We will help ensure that your rights and best interests are fully protected.

 

Sources:

http://www.mondaq.com/unitedstates/x/241366/Insolvency+Bankruptcy/Is+Federal+Court+Really+a+Better+Place+to+Foreclose

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=2017&ChapterID=56&SeqStart=107100000&SeqEnd=115800000