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What happens if a lien is placed against your home for a debt that was for one of your children?

Riverhead, NY |

My husband received a letter from an attorney's office stated a judgment was entered against him because of an emergency care, incident. The letter also said since you have failed to rectify this matter, a lien has been filed against any real property you own in the county. This lien will not only effect your credit but prevent you from selling or refinancing the property withou satisfying this judgment. This debt is actually against my son who has the same name as his father. No information other than the amount of the judgment and the judgment date was on the letter. I called the office livid and told on an answering machine I have excellent credit and there had better not be an (expletive) judgment that was going to jeopardize that rating when a check of the social security number or age should prove who it was against. The woman I left the message for called me back and told me that she was not going to talk to me anymore for leaving that one curse word on the machine and that she now had a record of it and if I called the office again she was going to call the police department and have me arrested. In addition she said because of that phone message she was not even going to try and work with me and she didn't care that it wasn't me and she'd be sure I'd have to prove it. This sounded to me like even though she knew they were in error for doing this she was going to make me pay for daring to leave a message that was not acceptable. I have had someone search the property for a lien and they said as of today there is no lien attached to it so, was this a lie sent out by an attorney's office to imtimidate us. What rights or actions can we take against this office. I also sent them a fax stating that since I can't call the office because of her direction I am requesting in writing additional information regarding this judgement so that I can prove it was not against my husband. They have not responded.

The debt was incurred in 06 and my son is 38 years old. I gave and had given them his information in the past. He called them after this incident and they said my husband would have to call. It appears now that they are just being even more vindictive and nasty and I'm not going to trust my excellent credit rating in a person's hand who would go to such lengths. It is now going to cost me to have an attorney draft a letter to them to provide the information to us to show that we made every effort to close this matter. I have the letter that they lied on about the judgment and I am also going to get a copy of the search to show that there are actually no liens against the property as they said for back up documentation. Is there a mechanism to report these deceptive practices?

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Attorney answers 2


Parents are responsible for the medical bills incurred for treatment to their minor children. If your son was under 18 at the time of treatment, the bill is yours to pay, no matter how you were spoken to by the party you wrote about.

Certainly I don't condone that person's conduct, if it was as you wrote. Deceptive practices and threats are not permitted in debt collection efforts.

If your son was an adult when treatment was given, point the collector in his direction or contact your son and give him the collector's contact information so that the problem becomes his and not yours.


The creditor apparently has a judgment, against either your husband or your son, and apparently has filed that judgment as a lien against your husband's interest in your home. In general, obtaining a "judgment lien" on real property is something a judgment credtor is allowed to do. Indeed, it's one of the reasons to get a judgment.

Simply yelling at the plaintiff's lawyer, or telling them they have the wrong person, is unlikely to do anything.

You should hire a lawyer to examine the following:

1. Did the creditor sue your husband, or your son? This can probably be answered from the complaint. If the creditor sued your husband, claiming he was liable for the debt, and got a judgment against him, then they had every right to file the lien (there may still be steps you can take, though).

2. If they did not sue your husband, but only your son, you will either need to convince them that they have placed a lien on the wrong property, or sue them to remove the cloud on your title.

3. It is not impossible that the creditor sued your husband, followed all court procedures, and got a default judgment without your husband ever seeing the complaint. It's very unusual, but it happens (more often, papers get served on a defendant, who ignores them, and then forgets he ever saw them). In any event, if they did sue your husband, you will want to take immediate steps to try to open the default and remove the lien.

Unless your plan is simply to pay the debt, you should talk to a lawyer without delay.

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