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Pending lawsuits and selling one's home

Seattle, WA |

I owe a great deal to credit card companies and have not paid them for over two years.
I do not have a pending lawsuit at this time. Can I sell my home and what happens if during the sale, I get sued? I realize the lawsuit may take a year or so.

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Attorney answers 5


The credit card company will not have a lien on your home until they obtain a judgment against you, so they wouldn't hurt your ability to sell. A pending lawsuit would not affect the sale of your home, but would mean they are close to it, because they are close to securing a judgment.

Best of luck,
Tim L Eblen


Avvo indicates that you live in Seattle, so I will answer accordingly. If a creditor sues you in King County Superior Court and gets a judgment against you, that judgment automatically becomes a lien on your home. It is possible in some circumstances for a creditor to get a "pre-judgment attachment", but I would be surprised if any of your creditors tried this. However, you should check your credit report to make sure you don't have any judgments currently. It is not unheard of for creditor's attorneys to get a default judgment without properly serving the lawsuit on you. If this is the case, you can ususally have the judgment vacated.

This answer is in the nature of a general legal analysis and is not taylored to the facts of your specific situation. It should not be construed as legal advice, and you should meet with an attonrey before taking action on this matter.


Until you get sued, you are free to act as you please, subject only to the provisions of the Uniform Fraudulent Transfers Act. You can find this law on your state's website or by doing a simple web search. Should a creditor sue you while a sale is pending, you will want to defend yourself, which might or might not require you to obtain legal representation. Hope this perspective helps!


I agree with Mr. Eblen. A judgment lien won't stop the sale of your house. It will decrease the net amount you receive from the sale, however.

Be sure to designate "best answer." If you live in Oregon, you may call me for more detailed advice, 503-650-9662. Please be aware that each answer on this website is based upon the facts, or lack thereof, provided in the question. To be sure you get complete and comprehensive answers, based upon the totality of your situation, contact a local attorney who specializes in the area of law that involves your legal problem. Diane L. Gruber has been practicing law in Oregon for 26 years, specializing in family law, bankruptcy, estate planning and probate. Note: Diane L. Gruber does not represent you until a written fee agreement has been signed by you and Diane L. Gruber, and the fee listed in the agreement has been paid.


As long as the home sale has closed before a judgment is entered, you should not have a problem. The lien can attach only upon judgment unless the creditor takes very unusual action to prevent you from selling.

Robert Charles Russell

Robert Charles Russell


As noted below, you could still sell your home after a judgment is attached - you just would have to settle the judgment lien at closing. That is likely not very satisfactory for you. ;-)

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