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Removing Judgment Liens Through Bankruptcy

As injury and debt relief attorneys we are often confronted with clients who have had first hand experience with some of the methods at a creditor's disposal when it comes to collecting a debt. Of these tools, such as wage and bank account garnishment, judgment liens are a very common means in which creditors aggressively pursue their interest by attaching the debt directly to the assets of a debtor. Perhaps the most disruptive example of this occurs when a judgment lien is attached to real property. In Georgia, this could mean a home, condo or land. In this scenario the debtor cannot sell their home with a clear title until the debt creating the lien is paid in full.

Judgment creditors begin this process and protect their interest by recording a FIFA with the county recorder where the debtor is believed to own real property. FIFA is short for the Latin term fieri facias and refers to a writ of execution directing a sheriff to take the goods or property of someone against whom a judgment has been rendered. This process is governed by the laws of the State of Georgia. As mentioned above, in this case the FIFA does not permit a creditor to foreclose on the property. Instead, the FIFA creates a lien on the real property which would prevent a property from being sold or refinanced. A few years ago this would not have been a concern for most home owners due to the significantly decreased home values. However, as property values continue to increase debtors looking to take advantage of the improved housing market by re-financing or selling their home will be hindered by a lien attached to their property.

Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies can be very effective tools in assisting debtors with removing judicial or judgment liens from their assets. In order to remove these liens from their assets the debtor has to show that he or she does not have any ownership interest in the asset or property. This rule on its surface appears to limit options available to the debtor. However, there are list of exemptions available through the bankruptcy process that can eliminate debt, save the property or asset and completely remove the judicial lien. For instance, if a lien has been attached to a residence that the debtor intends to keep he or she can apply available bankruptcy exemptions to any equity in the residence through the bankruptcy process and remove the lien from the property. (This of course in contingent on the amount of equity in the asset)

Issues related to Bankruptcy can be complicated and require the skill of an experienced bankruptcy attorney. Our law firm has handled thousands of cases and will use that expertise to guide you through any questions you may have. If you have a property or asset that is subject to a lien or would simply like more information on how to remove a judgment lien from assets contact Douglas County Bankruptcy Lawyers today for a free consultation.

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3330 Cumberland Blvd. SE, Suite 500, Atlanta, GA 30339 Phone: (770) 485-6620