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My wife has a judgement against her that had to do with her deceased husband state. how can I own a house in my name alone.

Katy, TX |

My wife has a judgement against her that had to do with her deceased husband state.
this judgement was obtained against her after we had been married.
I have the money and would like to buy a house but Texas being a community property state
this person can come after the property even if it is in my name alone.
how can I own a house that would be protected against the judgement or potential lien from the creditor. can you please give us our options.

Attorney Answers 2


There may not be any reason for alarm, depending upon if this home purchase is your primary residence, or a second (fun) home since you and your wife have exempt assets that are protected from 3rd party creditors under several Texas Codes (statutes) and the Texas Constitution; these include, but not limited to, your residence (home), a car, a certain amount of personal property, including food, cash, tools, clothes, guns (this is Texas after all), 120 fowl, 12 head of cattle, 2 horses, 60 head of “other “ livestock, and don’t forget the household pets, etc. There are a few exceptions with respect to creditors attaching to a homestead (see Texas Property Code 41.001/real property, & 42.001 – 42.002/personal property).
However, if you are purchasing a second home, them consider entering into a postnuptial agreement, particularly if you are using community funds to purchase the home (NOTE: you and your wife should each have your own SEPARATE and independent attorney to advise you of your rights under Texas law prior to entering into this agreement). If you are using separate property funds to purchase this home, then this too should be memorialized in a written agreement drafted by an attorney and signed by you and your wife, again with separate counsel. As with any legal agreement, you should seek counsel from a competent attorney in estate planning, family law, or property law. I wish you and yours the very best.

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As I understand the facts this is really not a problem involving a judgment creditor coming after a house you may buy. It is really a problem of qualification for a loan because there is a judgment against your wife. Homes that are your primary residence qualify as your "homestead" under the Texas Constitution and they cannot be seized by a creditor except by the actual mortgage lender or a tax authority (and a couple of others that don't matter here). That means that a judgment creditor cannot seize a homestead. That would be true no matter whose name is on the deed. But, Texas is a community property state and it doesn't matter if you take title to the house in your name, her name, or both. It is community property. Both spouses are going to be required to sign the mortgage note and lien. Both spouses credit is going to be considered by the lender. That means that no mortgage lender will make the loan. You say "I have the money". I'm not sure what that means. Unless it means that you have enough cash to pay for a home without a mortgage, then you still run into the problem outlined above. If you do have that much cash then you can purchase a home and require that the deed convey title to you alone. It will still be community property because you are married. But, if it is "homestead" the judgment creditor cannot get to it. If it is not homestead (a second home in Texas), the judgment creditor could execute against your wife's interest in it. If it is a home in some other state then ignore everything here. These laws vary from state to state.

DISCLAIMER: This is not specific legal advice and does not establish an attorney/client relationship.

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