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Can I avoid an unrecorded judgment against me in Bankruptcy Chapter 7?, They did not record it in the County Recorder's office.

San Francisco, CA |

I had an unrecorded judgment against me in Superior Court, then I filed Chapter 7 Bk, listed the judgment. Will this wipe the judgment entirely since it is not recorded against any property I own?

Attorney Answers 7

  1. The money owed from the judgment would be eliminated by a discharge of debts in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If the creditor has obtained a lien against your property from that judgment, that lien against your property would not be eliminated. A lien might be able to be "avoided" in a bankruptcy, but that's a subject too complex for treatment here. However, from what you said, your creditor may not have a valid lien of your property and, if that's correct, then a Chapter 7 would prevent the creditor from obtaining one so you'd be home free on that issue.

    This reply does not constitute legal advice or establish an attorney-client relationship.

  2. The judgement will still be a matter of public record regardless of the BK or any avoidance action. A bankruptcy doesn't vacate a judgment. A bankruptcy merely prevents the collection of the judgment.

    As pointed out, if the creditor obtained a lien by recording it, the lien survives (unless it can be avoided, but that is too complex to address here). If the judgment was never recorded, (and assuming CA law requires recording to prefect the lien), then the creditor does not have a lien and therefore there is nothing to avoid. The judgment is simply discharged.

  3. The debt is discharged through bankruptcy. The plaintiff cannot go back to record liens against once you receive the discharge and your case is closed without going through the bankruptcy court.

    As the others have stated, the judgment is a matter of public record (it doesn't just disappear, get vacated, expunged or anything like that).

  4. Your bankruptcy discharged the judgment, meaning you personally owe nothing on it. Bankruptcy does not "wipe." Hope this perspective helps!

  5. The short answer is no. It's no because the "avoiding" procedure is for liens that have been recorded. Yours has not been, so it doesn't need "avoiding". If you file a bankruptcy the judgment can be discharged (unless it is a non-dischargeable debt) and it never can be recorded against your property as a lien.

  6. Your bankruptcy discharged your personal liability on the judgment. You may want to double check to see if the judgment was docketed. Where I practice, a properly docketed judgment becomes a blank lien on all real property in county it was docketed. To get rid of that, you have file a satisfaction of judgement - at least where I practice.

  7. It depends on many factors:
    1. If your bankruptcy is still pending, judgment creditor may file a complaint for non dischargeability specially if the judgement is based on fraud or other non dischargeability grounds.

    2. If you have already obtained the discharge by properly notifying the creditor and creditor did not file a complaint for non dischargeability within the allowed time period, your judgement will be deemed discharged.

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