What to do about a lien placed on my property due to my ex-wife’s debt?

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What to do about a lien placed on my property due to my ex-wife’s debt?

My wife and I were divorced in 2007 with me being awarded the house in the settlement. In 2009, a lien was placed on the house for a credit card balance that was in her name. I didn’t know about the lien until I went to refinance. What recourse do I have?

Asked on November 4, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If the house was fully in your name before the lien was placed, then it was placed in error; a lien may not be placed on person A's property because of a debt of person B. In that case, you should be able to show the creditor that the lien was placed incorrectly--and if they won't cooperate, you should be able to go to court to get it removed. (You should retain an attorney to help you.) The issue in either event is showing that you owned the home, free and clear, before the lien.

If however your wife was still an owner when the lien was placed, it's a different story; in that case, the lien would have been proper and it would have transferred to you when you took ownership. It may be possible to bring a legal action against your former wife to force her to pay the debt; you'll definitely want an attorney's help in this case.


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