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Lady Themis
Lady Themis, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 7751
Experience:  General practice experience in many areas of law
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I have several judgements against me totaling more tan 300K

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I have several judgements against me totaling more tan 300K from a business I owned 2 1/2 years ago. My question is if I go buy a new car and pay cash for it am I at risk of someone coming and taking my car or putting a title lien against it? If so what are the chances of it actually happening?

Thank you for your question.

Assuming the debts are against you personally, yes, your vehicle can be at risk. However, there are certain assets that can be exempt from levy on a judgment. Under the California Code of Civil Procedure Section 704.010, a motor vehicle's equity is exempt up to $2,300. Here is a link to the statute:

If the vehicle is worth more than $2,300 (using something like NADA guides to determine value), a creditor may attempt to seize it. Creditors can consult the DMV records from time to time to determine your ownership interests in vehicles.

I hope this answers your question. Please reply if you need additional follow-up.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
If I buy an expensive car what are the chances of this actually happening?

The more expensive the car, the better chance the creditor has at recouping some of its judgment monies, and the more likely the creditor would spend the time and energy on levying the vehicle.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
All of these judgements are in my name only and got them before I got married. I'm I safe putting the car in my wifes name?
Debts incurred prior to the marriage are your separate debts, and your spouse cannot be held liable even though you live in a community property state. However, if you own property jointly, that property can be levied for your separate debts. Your wife's separate property cannot be attacked for your pre-marital separate debts.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
So any property my wife buys now (house,car) or owned before our marriage can't be taken or levied in anyway because of my debts?

Thanks so much,
No, not as long as her assets are not commingled with community property. The community estate and quasi-community property is liable for debts incurred by either spouse during or prior to the marriage. The spouse's separate property is not liable for the spouse's pre-marital debts. See Family Code Section 913:
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