In 2012, five of the nation's largest banks agreed to pay billions of dollars to settle state and federal claims of mortgage servicing, foreclosure, and bankruptcy abuses. The National Mortgage Settlement provided payments to signing states to help fund foreclosure prevention efforts. From its share of the settlement funds, Florida allocated $31 million to address the foreclosure backlog. This funding created special court divisions dedicated to foreclosures, and enlisted senior judges and extra court staffing to expedite the foreclosure process.

On June 30, 2015, Florida's backlog initiative will expire as the special funding comes to an end. As a result, many judicial circuits will close their foreclosure divisions and reassign cases to regular circuit judges (rather than retired judges). The Ninth Judicial Circuit, for example, announced the end of its “rocket-docket” foreclosure process due to loss of court money. Among other changes, judges will amend their procedures for scheduling court hearings. Now, most courts will handle foreclosures just like any other civil case.

These big changes will surely slow the process for many homeowners in foreclosure. While law practitioners expect cases to receive a more thorough review from judges. Less pressure to plow through cases allows courts to give borrowers their fair due.