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JP, Attorney
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Satisfied Customers: 109
Experience:  Represented creditors and individuals in bankruptcy and consumer matters.
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My wife filed chapter 7 in NJ in 2003, before we were married.

Customer Question

My wife filed chapter 7 in NJ in 2003, before we were married. There was a $12,000 judgment included in the bankruptcy. An order to vacate was never filed on the judgment following the bankruptcy. I bought my house before we were married. We are looking to sell this house and buy another. Is it possible that the judgement can come back to haunt us? Can the order to vacate be done now? Would that "re-open" the bankruptcy?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Expert:  JP replied 8 years ago.

No, the judgment should not come back to haunt you, unless there was lien perfecting the judgment before the bankruptcy case was filed. If the judgment creditor secured a lien prior to the filing of the chapter 7 case, otherwise securing the judgment debt. If this did not occur and the judgment debt was indeed unsecured as of the date of filing, then the discharge will suffice in canceling the debt.


If you attempt to sell your home and the title company asks about the judgment, then you should simply provide a copy of your chapter 7 schedules and a copy of your discharge order to show the title company that the debt was discharged in a chapter 7 bankruptcy case. Your wife should obtain a free copy of her credit report from and to review how the judgment is listed on her credit report.


However, if you wanted to file a Motion to Vacate the judgment just to clean up the record, you would file the Motion in the Court where the judgment was obtained, not the bankruptcy court. The bankruptcy case would not need to be reopened, because the Motion to vacate will not be filed in the bankruptcy court. You should check with the Court Clerk where the judgment was obtained to determine whether the Judge will consider the Motion to Vacate, since several years have passed since the judgment was entered against your wife.


I hope you found this information helpful.


Best Regards.