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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 27621
Experience:  JA Mentor
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I Live in New Jersey which is what's called I believe a

Customer Question

I Live in New Jersey which is what's called I believe a common marriage state.
I want to sell my house that I bought in cash for $220,000. I titled the house only in my name, my husband was not On the title. I have a $10,000 federal tax lien against me only. My husband has a $60k federal tax lien against him only(but his name is ***** ***** the house title). My question is when I sell the house will they only do the title search on my name ONLY? And will they only find the 10,000 that I am responsible for? Or will my husbands 60k also come up and they try to hold that money too?
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 6 months ago.

Hi,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today.

I'm a little thrown by your reference to "common marriage state." New Jersey abolished common law marriage decades ago - common law marriages entered into prior to 1939 are not legal within the state. When you mention your husband, did you obtain a marriage license and have a ceremony? Or did you enter a common law marriage while living in a state OTHER than New Jersey? I'm asking because, if you never got a marriage license and always lived in New Jersey, you wouldn't be considered married in the eyes of the law and there would be no reason for anyone to do a title search on someone not listed on the deed.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Sorry for confusing you. I didn't mean common-law marriage, I meant common property state? Meaning if you're married everything is combined. We are officially married license and all.
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 6 months ago.

Ok, thank you.

If the lien against your husband hasn't been recorded on the property, it can't be used to stop the sale. And in order for them to put a lien on the house, they'd need a debt in your name, which they don't have. They don't have any basis for holding the $60k based on the facts you've provided.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Hmmm. All I know is that I have a lien on me for $10k. He has a lien on him for $60k. I am the the only name on the title.
I called a random title company and asked them, and they said they would also run my husbands name even though he is not on the title. Did that make sense? And can they do that? That's why I am confused
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 6 months ago.

They're free to run the name, but if there isn't a lien actually recorded on the house, it can't block the sale. A lien has to be recorded to have any effect.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
When you say "recorded on the house" that confuses me. I guess my question would be would my husband's lien be "on the house?" Because the house is not in his name to begin with
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 6 months ago.

No. Recorded means someone physically took the document to the county clerk's office and filed it in the records attached to the house. When you do a title search, that's what's going to come up. Even if they run your husband's name, they shouldn't see the lien if it hasn't been recorded on your house - all they should see is any property he owns. And a tax lien for your husband only can't be recorded against a house in your name only.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
That is a very clear response, thank you so much. Can I use you as an attorney when that time comes if for some reason they did try to pull my husbands name into it and trying to hold me accountable?
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 6 months ago.

We're unfortunately not able to represent customers. But any local attorney can help if they try to block the sale or make you pay that lien.

Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 6 months ago.

Did you have any other questions about this?

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