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How do I get a release of liability from a civil court judgement that was discharged in my chapter 7 bankruptcy (California)?

Sacramento, CA |

In Feb. 2008, I had a civil judgement from a creditor the judgement was rendered and then we filed Ch 7 bankruptcy in April and the all of the debts were discharged in December 2008. Now we are tryin gto purchase a house and cannot becasue the court records (not the credit reports) are showing the judgement as not satisfied with no notation about the bankruptcy and discharge. How can we get a release of liability to reflect on the court records or how ca nwe get the courts to show that it was included in the bankrtupcy. I keep going down there and they would not accept my copy of the bankruptcy as proof of the debt being included in the bankruptcy. Should I coutact the creditor?

Also, the debt was filed against me and my companies. All of the companies have since (in December 2008), been dissolved. The mortgage broker is telling us that the underwriter is not going to approve of the loan because the credco (the system that uw's use the check applicant's credit) is showing the judgements as not satisfied. There are no liens and the judgement was for unpaid office rent. It is dischargeable to my knowledge. So we would not need a "Release of Liability"? I should probably add that we are trying to get an FHA loan. I am not sure if it makes a difference.

Attorney Answers 3


If this is simply a judgment and not a lien against assets you owned on the date your bankruptcy case is filed, then someone (you don't say who) needs a bit of an education. Who is it that is not "allowing" you to buy a home? If it a title company? Without knowing what their specific concern is, it's hard to tell you how to proceed. I doubt you'll be able to get a satisfaction of judgment filed by the creditor, although of course you can try to get that, but it is unnecessary.

If you received a discharge and you owed this debt prior to the chapter 7 case being filed, and no assets were distributed by the Trustee in your case, then the debt was discharged (unless the civil judgment was of a type not dischargeable, such as a domestic support obligation or student loan). You probably just need to have an attorney write a letter explaining how this works to the title company or whomever is having the problem on this, but without more details, I can't tell you who that is or what their problem is.

Mark J. Markus, Attorney at Law
Handling exclusively bankruptcy law cases in California since 1991.

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If the civil court judgment is for a debt which you included in your bankruptcy petition, the debt has been discharged by the bankruptcy court unless it falls into a special catagory like child support or some other type of debt which is not dischargable in bankruptcy. The bankruptcy court order discharging your debts should be the only document you need to prove you don't owe the debt. (i.e. you have already been released of your liability). If the debt is for child support or some other debt which has not been discharged in your bankruptcy then that liability remains. I suggest you show the bankruptcy court order discharging your debts to the person who is asking you to prove your release of liability.

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Make sure the Plaintiff did not record an Abstract of Judgment at The County Recorder's Office. If they did, you need to re-open your ch7 and file a Motion to Avoid Judicial Lien if possible.

Mail a certified letter with a copy of your Discharge Order to the Reporting Agency that is showing the judgment as not satisfied. Ask them to fix it and sue them if they don't fix it.

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