I received a notice of involuntary lien and abstract of judgment for old debt, they won the judgment in court in Aug of 2009 and I made a few payments. In Nov 2009 I lost my job and have not found a new one. The only thing I own in my name is an old Jeep. My husband has property and a vehicle in his name; can the creditor go after his assets for my old debt? If I ever find a job again I plan to resume payments, but until then I'm stuck and afraid for my husband's assets.
Also, is a joint tax return included in a lien against real property?
Lawsuit / Dispute Attorney
Personal property, such as refund on tax return, is not subject to an abstract of judgment, which must be filed in each county, to place a lien on the debtor's property in that county.
Cal. Code of Civil Procedure, Section 695.020(a), states: "Community property is subject to enforcement of a money judgment as provided in the Family Code.”
Cal. Family Code, Section 910, states: “Except as otherwise expressly provided by statute, the community estate is liable for a debt incurred by either spouse before or during marriage, regardless of which spouse has the management and control of the property and regardless of whether one or both spouses are parties to the debt or to a judgment for the debt.”
Under Cal. law, a money judgement of one spouse can be enforced on property of the community for debts incurred during marriage. If this was during marriage that you had this debt, then it can be enforced on your husband's assets. If before or after you married your husband, then it cannot legally be enforced against his assets. Have you considered filing a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, which would discharge this default judgment? If not, please consult with a Bankruptcy attorney in your area. You can use Avvo's find an attorney tab to search.
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The answer depends on whether or not your name is on the title to the house. If it is, then the Abstract of Judgment recorded becomes a lien on the house. The creditor will have a hard time collecting the debt from your new husband.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorney
I agree. The creditor should not be able to collect from the new husband.
Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Attorney
California is a community property state, therefore, your assets and liabilities are shared by the community (you and your husband). A creditor may hold your husband liable for debts that were incurred by you, however, this determination is based upon a number of facts that would need to be discussed in further details.
If the abstract of judgment is only in your name and your husband's assets do not have your name on it, it will be difficult for the creditor to pursue his assets.