Snowbird

Judgment in community property state

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Hi, 

I live in Wisconsin which is a community property state. I am a homeowner with my husband. Supposedly he has a judgment against him from a girl he was seeing. He did not show for the court date and the judgment was filed . I knew nothing about this .She claimed he owed her money.She is now threatening to put a lien on my home where my child and I live. Can she do this as I was not listed in the judgment? My husband and I will be getting a divorce due to all his horrible decision making. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you

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Since you are a homeowner with your husband, the ex girlfriend can indeed put a lien on the home. She probably will not foreclose however due to the expense and the fact that the mortgage and all the expenses, plus your half as the judgement is against the husband, have to be paid first prior to her claim. All that would happen is that the lien would then sit there until you refinance or sell the home.

Since you are getting a divorce anyways, if you are going to stay in the home and can refinance the home out of his name, I would suggest doing that and the payment of the lien comes out of your husbands 1/2 of the assets. Otherwise, I would sell the home while doing the divorce and again, the lien comes out of his 1/2. I know this might mean that you and your children will have to move but it is better to have a clean slate than to have this hanging on the house collecting interest while your ex takes off for god knows where.

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@Snowbird Community property laws generally distinguish assets obtained during a marriage from pre-marital assets and those in which a spousal agreement identifies the asset as the sole and separate asset of one spouse.  If during your marriage you bought the home as the sole owner, your husband would have had to sign a quit claim deed to release his interest (and liability) in the home.

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13 minutes ago, Harry Seaward said:

@Snowbird Community property laws generally distinguish assets obtained during a marriage from pre-marital assets and those in which a spousal agreement identifies the asset as the sole and separate asset of one spouse.  If during your marriage you bought the home as the sole owner, your husband would have had to sign a quit claim deed to release his interest (and liability) in the home.

Hello Harry,

We did get the home together however because he acted on his own with his girl friend I thought that their might be a way that I might be exempt from the lein as I had no knowledge of it occurring.

thanks again for any responses.

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Something to be aware of...divorce settlements are not binding on 3rd parties. For example, if in the divorce, he agrees to take responsibility for the judgement, she isn't bound by that and may still come after the community property. Be sure your lawyer knows what's going on.

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1 hour ago, willingtocope said:

Something to be aware of...divorce settlements are not binding on 3rd parties. For example, if in the divorce, he agrees to take responsibility for the judgement, she isn't bound by that and may still come after the community property. Be sure your lawyer knows what's going on.

She could come after the community property, but isn't it true that since it's his debt and his alone (the wife wasn't named in the judgement), the judgement has to be taken out of his share of the house and not divided between him and the wife?

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1 minute ago, acorn said:

She could come after the community property, but isn't it true that since it's his debt and his alone (the wife wasn't named in the judgement), the judgement has to be taken out of his share of the house and not divided between him and the wife?

Perhaps.  All I'm saying is don't rely on what the divorce decree says...credit law, judgements, IRS, and divorce law all play by different rules.

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At any rate, @Snowbird, make sure your attorney knows about this judgement and the girlfriend's intention to place a lien on your home., so that he/she can take whatever steps are necessary to make sure the judgement is listed as his individual debt and not community debt.   (I helped my mother through some of this when she divorced my father, although it was in another state.)

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DO NOT LET YOUR HUSBAND SIGN A QUIT CLAIM DEED. That will not extinguish the lien and you will end up paying it in the future if you want to sell the house or refinance. Better to refinance, pay the lien, and they buy your husband out (minus the lien) or sell the house, pay the lien, and then the proceeds include you getting what you would have lost from the lien. Do make sure to tell you attorney about this so that they can act appropriately to make your soon to be ex pay for this rather than you.

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@WhoCares1000 is right.  I wasn't implying that was the way to keep her from attaching to the house.  I was merely saying that *if* that had happened during the marriage it would be helpful for the sake of this debt. 

Something else that I thought of.... In Arizona (also a community property state), in order to effect a judgement against community property the lawsuit must be brought against both spouses. If your situation had occurred here and the girl named only your husband in the lawsuit she couldn't touch anything that benefited the community, which would include his wages since you benefit from his income. 

You might want to check to see if this same thing applies where you are,  @Snowbird

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