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    laura Francis's Avatar
    laura Francis Posts: 2, Reputation: 1
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    #1

    Mar 9, 2015, 12:18 PM
    I want to put a property lien on my ex-husbands house. He owes me 18,000 in alimony.
    I have taken my ex-husband to court for alimony payments he never made. The court ordered him to pay extra a week to catch up on 6,000 that he has not paid, that was in July 2012 That lasted 6 months. As of December 2014 the amount is $16, 900. He doesn't care. I want to put a lien on his house so I can get the money he owes me. He makes no attempt to rectify his obligation. I am living on social security but can't make ends meet . After 30 years of marriage he has forced me into major debt.
    AK lawyer's Avatar
    AK lawyer Posts: 12,592, Reputation: 977
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    #2

    Mar 9, 2015, 01:19 PM
    Certainly, in most places, you can record the divorce decree, and that will constitute a lien on all his real property in the place (county, usually) where you record it. I'm surprise this wasn't done when the decree was entered by the court.

    The problem is that, unless he wants to sell or mortgage the property, recording the lien won't necessarily force him to pay up.
    ballengerb1's Avatar
    ballengerb1 Posts: 27,379, Reputation: 2280
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    #3

    Mar 9, 2015, 03:05 PM
    Yep, even if you sue him and win he may still just sit back and do nothing.
    Fr_Chuck's Avatar
    Fr_Chuck Posts: 81,292, Reputation: 7691
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    #4

    Mar 9, 2015, 04:22 PM
    I will agree, with the exception that the rule of liens on your main home varies by state, if in the U.S. and by country depending on where you live. You will want to see your attorney to be sure, what process is needed to place this lien.

    With that said, the lien does nothing to get your money till the property is sold, you can not force the sell, so it still does not get you any money. A garnishment of his wages, if he is working, would be a better way to get the money.
    ScottGem's Avatar
    ScottGem Posts: 64,970, Reputation: 6056
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    #5

    Mar 9, 2015, 06:14 PM
    It is unfortunate that a deadbeat like you describe can get away with it. But if he is willing to work menial jobs off the books then he can get away with it.

    As noted, if he has a job, then a garnishment is a better option than a lien. As noted, a lien doesn't get you anything until he sells. And if the house is mortgaged, then your lien may be secondary so you may get very little in a sale.
    laura Francis's Avatar
    laura Francis Posts: 2, Reputation: 1
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    #6

    Mar 9, 2015, 06:58 PM
    How do I put a lien on a person's house who owes me money
    Hi Scott Gem, I asked you a question this afternoon about past due alimony payments and putting lien on my ex husbands house. I didn't mention he is in his 70's and in poor health. I want to put the lien on before he dies. How would I go about it. The house will be left to his son. I want to get my money before it's sold. I can't afford a lawyer. Can I do it on my own.
    AK lawyer's Avatar
    AK lawyer Posts: 12,592, Reputation: 977
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    #7

    Mar 10, 2015, 07:20 AM
    ... I can't afford a lawyer. Can I do it on my own[?]
    Actually, you can't afford not to have a lawyer, but yes in theory you could do it on your own. As others have indicated, how you go about this will vary from place-to-place, but in general you would get a certified copy of the divorce decree (or judgment) from the clerk of court, and then record it with the officer in you locality (often also the clerk of court) with whom liens are recorded. Make sure the judgment specifically recites the amount of alimony owed. You may also (depending on the law in your jurisdiction) need an updated judgment for the past-due alimony. Finally, I'm not sure if alimony trumps whatever inheritance rights the son would have; again, it depends upon the law in your jurisdiction.
    ScottGem's Avatar
    ScottGem Posts: 64,970, Reputation: 6056
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    #8

    Mar 10, 2015, 07:32 AM
    Not sure what you mean by asking me a question. I didn't see any notification from you. It looks like you may have started a new thread rather than responding to this one. But anyway, I see AK has answered you. I would start by asking the court clerk in Family Court. Then checking with the agency that is responsible for registration of deeds. You will probably need some proof of the balance owed to file the lien.
    AK lawyer's Avatar
    AK lawyer Posts: 12,592, Reputation: 977
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    #9

    Mar 10, 2015, 10:46 AM
    Also, if it's just the ex's estate that OP is concerned about, simply send a notice (here in Florida they would call it a "caveat") to the personal representative of his estate (when the ex dies). It would probably have the same effect. The recording of liens is intended to give notice to purchasers (who otherwise would not have notice of the claim) who pay value for the property. It would be unnecessary in the case of an inheritance.
    ScottGem's Avatar
    ScottGem Posts: 64,970, Reputation: 6056
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    #10

    Mar 10, 2015, 10:59 AM
    AK is correct. The alimony arrears represent a liability to the estate. You can make a claim against the estate for that amount that would have to be paid before any proceeds are distributed to heirs. Unless you think you will not be notified when he dies, this would be the best tactic.
    AK lawyer's Avatar
    AK lawyer Posts: 12,592, Reputation: 977
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    #11

    Mar 10, 2015, 01:16 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by ScottGem
    The alimony arrears represent a liability to the estate
    of the estate.

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