Minneapolis Bankruptcy Attorney Fighting For You
Previous unpaid debts such as medical bills, collections, and loans can come back to haunt you in a very serious way…in the form of a judgment lien against your home, or any other land or buildings that you own. If you live in Minnesota and have been issued a judgment lien due to an unpaid debt, we at Walker & Walker Law Offices, PLLC can help you with getting it removed from your property.
We focus on bankruptcy, which is usually the quickest and cheapest way to remove a judgment. Bankruptcy voids judgment liens, even if the lien was gotten before the bankruptcy was filed. There is another county court process called “judgment removal” that your attorney will do after your bankruptcy is successful to make sure that the lien doesn’t show as active anywhere. In fact, we remove about 15-20 judgments per week.
What Exactly is a Judgment Lien?
When you owe creditors money and do not pay them back, they can go to court and sue you for the amount owed plus interest and attorney fees. If the creditor wins the lawsuit, the creditor will be granted a judgment against you, which then turns into a lien that is automatically attached to any real property you own in the county where the judgment is docketed. This means that if you sell or refinance the house before dealing with the judgment, then the judgment will get paid from the sale money or the refinance proceeds.
How Do I Know if there is a Judgment Lien Against Me?
In order for a creditor to be granted a judgment lien against your property, there is a legal process that must be followed. The creditor first files a civil complaint with the court and you will be served with legal paperwork describing the debt that is owed. You will then be given time to respond to the complaint. If the complaint goes before a judge at court and the creditor wins the lawsuit, you will be served with more legal papers notifying you of the judgment.
If you don’t say anything in response to the legal paperwork, then there will also be a judgment against you. This is called a “default judgment.” It is very dangerous because sometimes they get entered against people who are only barely aware that they are being sued.
Would you like to search for judgments against you in Minnesota? Then go to this website and do a “judgment search,” or a “civil, family, probate” search. That website is run by the state of Minnesota, so you have to agree to their terms and conditions. It is free and you don’t have to make a user name or password.
How Does a Judgment Lien Affect Me?
A judgment lien is like an ugly little parasite that attaches to your home or personal property of value. When there is a judgment lien placed against your home, the creditor will get first dibs on any money that is earned from selling your property. If a lien is placed against your vehicle or other assets of value, those items can legally be sold by the creditor to pay back the debt you owe.
What if I don’t Own Real or Personal Property?
A lien will generally hang over you like a big black cloud until you get it resolved. If you do not own any real property (land and buildings) at the time the judgment is filed, the lien attaches to any land that you get in the future until you file bankruptcy or pay off the judgment.
Judgments do not go away as creditors can continue to renew them once they expire. In Minnesota, a judgment lien is valid for 10 years, and it can be renewed for another 10 years.
What Can I do to Satisfy My Judgment Lien?
To satisfy a judgment lien, you need to work with the creditor who obtained the lien to make a mutually acceptable payment arrangement. Some creditors may be willing to settle with you for less than the full amount of the judgment.
Once you have reached an acceptable payment arrangement with the creditor, it is imperative that you get the settlement in writing before making any payments toward the judgment. This will protect you from the creditor not holding up their end of the bargain and removing the judgment lien once it is satisfied per your agreement.
Do I Need a Bankruptcy Attorney to Remove a Judgment Lien?
It depends. If the judgment lien is for a small amount of money, it may be more efficient to work directly with the creditor to come up with an agreeable arrangement and get the lien removed yourself.
Bankruptcy voids judgment liens, and your attorney will know how to file the appropriate paperwork in county court to make sure that the judgment stops showing as a lien against your house. If the judgment is for $5,000 or more, then bankruptcy is usually the cheapest and fastest way to get rid of a judgment.
We at Walker & Walker Law Offices, PLLC are professional attorneys who understand that good people sometimes need help getting out of debt and are here to help. Should you need legal representation to remove your judgment lien or would just like some guidance, contact us today so we can help you understand the legal process and your rights!