What does the term "avoid the fixing of a lien " mean to me? Does that mean that the lien would be cancelled if successfully avoided in bankruptcy court, or would the creditor's security interest survive the discharge of the bankruptcy filing just to be perused in local court?
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Attorney
522(f) applies to judicial liens and non PMSIs. For example, in some states, when a creditor sues you, that judgment held by the creditor is also a lien on your property. 522(f) can be used to avoid such liens. However, if you are talking about a lien such as a mortgage or auto lien, 522(f) would not void a properly perfected lien. In general, liens survive the bankruptcy discharge but any personal liability you have on a note or in conjunction with the lien can be discharged. Filing a Chapter 7 and protecting assets like a house or vehicle often involves substantial legal analysis, so you should consult with an attorney before filing.
It means judicial liens can be avoided if they affect your exemptions. You really do need an attorney who is well versed in how these are treated locally in you TN district.
Certain types of liens can be avoided. It does not happen automatically and the proper motions have the presented to the court. 522(f) applies across the country so it will be available to you in Tennessee. Make sure the lawyer you consult with knows that you have a 522f question. Most lawyers have free consultations.