I have a few judgments and I dont know where to put or how to let the court know they are judgments.
It's amazing how all these out of state lawyers have no temerity in answering questions of local law and procedure. Their answers may be correct for the states in which they practice and it's interesting to see how matters differ from state to state.
I practice bankruptcy law in the same county in which you live, before the same bankruptcy judge your case is assigned to.
Forget about going to the country administrator to see if your judgment has been recorded. It doesn't matter. It probably has been recorded and if you are interested in knowing you can look it up on your computer for free. Just get on the Broward county website and look for public records. But you really don't need to do that. Just list the judgment under unsecured debt. It is only a secured debt if the sheriff has actually levied on some property of yours, and has come and taken it from you and is holding it for auction.
You also list the lawsuit in the Statement of Financial Affairs as mentioned above.
What is important is that you accurately list the creditor's name and address on your schedules and in your creditor's matrix. You should also include the name and address of the creditor's attorney as an agent of the creditor. Make sure the bankruptcy clerk sends them both a notice of your bankruptcy. That's all.
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It depends upon what steps have been taken to enforce the judgment. A judgment, on its own, would most likely be listed on Schedule F as an unsecured debt. You should also list the lawsuit in the Statement of Financial Affairs section 4 if the suit was pending within the year prior to filing the bankruptcy. If the judgment creditor has done things such as file or record a lien or levy on your property, you may want to list it on Schedule D as a secured debt.
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As Jason has indicated, if the judgment was recorded & you own real estate, it may be a Schedule D secured claim. If it wasn't recorded or if you don't own real estate, it is probably a Schedule F unsecured claim.
So how would you know whether it was recorded? You have to research it because the creditor isn't going to tell you & usually isn't required to give you any notice. You might have to make a trip to the county recorder's office to investigate. What a hassle!
If it is secured, just filing bankruptcy won't eliminate this debt. A separate suit would need to be filed to avoid the lien & this is a complex process best done by a the best bankruptcy attorney you can find.
I urge you to click the link below to watch a video on the problems with trying to get a cheap bankruptcy. Mom used to tell me that you get what you pay for!
I would urge you to reconsider saving a few bucks & filing without a lawyer. You are just shooting yourself in the foot.
Your local court would be the place to start. Also, ask where your state's filing under the Uniform Commercial Code are recorded. Either one of those would be secured (Schedule D). Anything else is typically unsecured (Schedule E for certain taxes and Schedule F for most others). If you schedule it wrong, that will not change the nature of the debt.
[This communication is intended as general information and not specific legal advice, and this communication does not create an attorney-client relationship.]
Judgements are listed either on Schedule F (unsecured debts) or Schedule D (secured debts), if the judgment creditor has filed an abstract of judgment, which created a lien against your real property. To let the state courts know about your bankruptcy filing, you should file a Notice of Automatic Stay in each state court case in which a judgment was entered against you.
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