Skip to main content

In CA, does a family law atty's property lien trumps unrecorded liens in priority even though the atty had constructive notice?

Pasadena, CA |
Filed under: Lien

My atty put a FLARPL on my property even after I told him there are other liens on the property that has not yet been recorded. So my atty records his lien as soon as he learned that. The other lien holders then recorded their liens. I just want to know if there aren't enough funds in the proceeds who will first be entitled to payments? Does constructive notice play a factor in this?

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

The attorney lien prevails as it is recorded first in time.

I am licensed in California only and my answers on Avvo assume California law. Answers provided by me are for general information only. They are not legal advice. Answers must not be relied upon. Legal advice must be based on the interplay between specific exact facts and the law. This forum does not allow for the discussion of that interplay. My answer to any specific question would likely be different if that interplay were explored during an attorney-client relationship. I provide legal advice during the course of an attorney-client relationship only. The exchange of information through this forum does not establish such a relationship. That relationship is established only by personal and direct consultation with me followed by the execution of a written attorney-client agreement signed by each of us. The communications on this website are not privileged or confidential and I assume no duty to anyone by my participation on Avvo or because I have answered or commented on a question. All legal proceedings involve deadlines and time limiting statutes. So that legal rights are not lost for failure to timely take appropriate action and because I do not provide legal advice in answer to any question, if you are an interested party you should promptly and personally consult with an attorney for legal advice. Also, see Avvo's terms and conditions of use, specifically item 9, incorporated by this reference

Mark as helpful

3 lawyers agree

Posted

more information is needed. But, generally, first in time, gets first in line for payment. If there were other liens not filed, then they are not first in line. The fact you told the attorney you thought there were other liens not filed, does not necessarily mean the attorney had constructive knowledge of the liens. It may be the attorney thought they liens you told him/her about were not legally effecftive - I mean who knows what the attorney thought about what you told him/her. It does not necessarily mean the attorney had constructive knowledge. The lien situation and the fist in time rule do not involve an issue of bona fide purchaser issue which does take into consideration constructive knowledge. You might want to double check that the attorney followed all the necessary steps to perfect a lien against your proper in the first instance- there are signficant ethical considerations and precautionary measures that should be pursued by an attorney before liening on a client's property. Including disclosure to you about potential conflict and obtaining a waiver in writing from you. I hope this was helpful. If you have found this helpful and/or the best answer, please let the attorney know by checking the appropriate box below. It will be greatly appreciated. Thank you and best of luck to you.

Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, as each situation is fact specific, and it is not possible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and court pleadings filed in the case. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship.

Mark as helpful

2 lawyers agree

1 comment

Timothy John Broussard

Timothy John Broussard

Posted

I agree. Also, here is a couple thoughts. There are requirements by the lawfirm to perfect a security interest in the property and our firm typically avoids these issues. Regardless, it doesn't prohibit the lawfirm from suing you for recovery of attorney's fees later under your agreement. It might be best for you to allow the attorney to be paid first. The other lien holders may loose their right if they are lenders, or banks. But, I would sepeculate they are other judgment creditors. These unsecured creditors may not puruse a lawsuit based on the costs. Needless to say, your attorney would have a cost advantage later. The others would be required to retain a lawfirm, or loose a siginficant percentage. Of course, unless there is a bankrupcty involed in this situation.

Posted

Whoever recorded their lien first comes first. If there are not enough funds to pay off all the liens, then the lienholders would typically be asked to accept a lower amount.

Mark as helpful

1 lawyer agrees

Bankruptcy and debt topics

Top tips from attorneys

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics