Can a creditor file a property lien on a jointly owned mortgage in NC? The credit card debt is in my name only.

Asked over 2 years ago - Elizabeth City, NC

Can a creditor file a lien on a joint mortgage account due to my credit card debt living in NC? My husband isn't on any of my accounts. They are in my name only. I lost my job. Can they take our home away from us if we both are paying the mortgage?

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Derek R. Caldwell

    Pro

    Contributor Level 18

    Answered . A creditor would not file a lien against a joint mortgage account. A creditor can sue you and get a judgment against you which would attach to any real property held in your sole name or held jointly with other people OTHER than your spouse. Actually it could still attach to real propertyheld jointly with your spouse if the deed to your property specifies some tenancy other than tenancy by the entirety. Here in NC any property that is acquired while one is married and that is deeded to both the husband and wife is protected by something called a tenancy by the entirety which is a legal fiction that neither you nor your souse own the property but that the marital entity, made up of you and your spouse, owns the property. Only joint debts can attach to property owned by a tenancy by the entirety so if the credit card(s) that are suing you are just in your name or just in your spouse's name, the judgment will not attach and they could not take your house. You should take a look at your deed to your house and see how they listed you as grantee. If it says to John Doe and wife, Mary Doe, that's fine and even though it does not specifically mention "tenancy by the entirety" you still have one. If, however, it specifies some other kind of tenancy such as "Joint Tenants" with or without right of survivorship or "tenants in common" or just deeds it to John Doe, a married man, then you will likely have a problem. If you don't have a copy of your deed, you should be able to get one for a modest fee from the register of deeds or online from the register of deeds for your county if they have a website, which they probably do. If you get it online, it probably won't cost you a penny. You may want to consult with an attorney in Elizabeth City if you have questions.

  2. Gary D. Bollinger

    Contributor Level 19

    Answered . Liens are filed against property, not against debts, such as mtg accounts.

    In an entireties property, as atty Derek R. Caldwell noted, liens may have limited effect.

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