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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
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My wife lost a 2009 divorce judgement for lawyer fees in Washington

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My wife lost a 2009 divorce judgement for lawyer fees in Washington because she did appear because she was not notified. She moved to Texas and we were married in Feb. 2011. 14 days ago she was served by the deputy for the judgement amount plus 12% interest each year amounting to about $3200. We bought a house in Jan 2012 and she is on the title and we filed for homestead this month. She has no income as she is a stay at home mother. My questions are:
1. Since this judgement debt was prior to marriage and Texas is a community property state can they come after my assets? Joint bank account with only my payroll coming into every two weeks.
2. From what I know they can not garnish my wages in Texas (Texas company) and she has no income. Her assets since marriage are only clothes and the house which she is on the title for.
3. Can her ex-husband put lien on the house?
Hi,

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear that this happened.

1. They cannot come after your assets. However, any money in a bank account with both your name on it is legally considered the property of both spouses. They can take any money in a bank account with your wife's name on it, even if you are the one who deposited the money. Texas does have a statute that allows spouses to agree that any property acquired by one spouse remains the sole and separate property of that spouse and is not community property. Tex. Family Code, Section 4.103. If you had a prenuptial agreement that said as much, that could help protect some of your assets. The agreement would only apply to property acquired after it is signed.

2. They could not garnish your wages in any state, because the judgment is not against you. But you are correct that Texas law does not allow garnishment in most cases.

3. No. Tex. Prop. Code, Section 41.001 does not allow seizure of a person's home to pay any debts that weren't secured by a lien on the real estate (like mortgages).

If you have any questions or concerns about what I've written, please reply so that I may address them. It's important to me that you are 100% satisfied with the service I provide. Otherwise, please rate my service positively so that I get credit for answering your question. Thank you.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Lucy,


Point #


1. So if I take her name off of the checking and savings account or take money out of the and put it under my name only would this stop the bank account levy?


3. true, homes are exempt from seizure but can a lien be placed on the house and if in the future the home is sold would some of the proceeds be taken to satisfy the judgement. (ex-husband is using this judgement to fund custody case in california that we filed, that is why I would like to fight this).


3a. does the 12% interest still accumulate until payment is made to her ex-husband? This would be in reference to the lien on the home because if the money is not paid will the initerest penalty come into effect i we sell the home.

A bank usually will not remove a signer's name from an account without closing it and opening a new one, but you would have the ability to open a new account in only your name.

I'm sorry. Yes, they can file a lien. It's good for ten years. But they can't foreclose it.

The interest likely does continue until the debt is paid, but read the court documents. If your wife doesn't have them, she should be able to get a copy from the court. Check to see if the judgment includes post-judgment interest. If it does, the interest accrues until the judgment is paid or expires. A Washington judgment is good for ten years and can be renewed.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Lucy,


 


Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX like my options are:


 


1. negotiate with his attorney and maybe offer 50 cents on the dollar to start out with and move up from there. I'm sure he will have to check with his client and the client will say no!


2. Hide the money in accounts and don't allow for a tax refund in the future therefore prolonging him from getting the monies and being able to have additional monies for his attorney to fight us in the custody and visitation case in california.


or 3. pay the total judgement and put it behind me.


 


Is this a fair assessment on my part?


 


This will be the last question and ill rate after that. thanks for all your help.

If the judgment ordered her to pay the attorney, not the client, the attorney may have the authority to work with you (if he's collecting his own fees). Otherwise, it sounds like you have a good understanding of the options that may exist in this situation. The only other option is for your wife to investigate getting a part-time job to pay the judgment. I can think of several reasons you may not want to do that, and I understand, but it does exist as a possibility, especially if the children are in school. I'm not sure how old they are.
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