Q: Can my home, vehicle, personal belongings and child support be taken to repay a judgement?
My previous landlord was granted a judgement against me for unpaid rent that was recorded in 2018 in Florida.
I was divorced a few months later and used my divorce settlement as a down payment on a 40 year old house in North Carolina. I have a mortgage than is just over a year old and I owe 80k.
I am awaiting a determination on a SSDI application, so my only income is child support for my 2 minor children. My children and I recieve Medicaid and food stamps.
I have a 2003 Dodge truck that is paid off.
My children and I have very meager personal possessions. I do not own anything of great value.
Today, a process server went to my ex husband's work trying to find out my whereabouts to obtain some financial documentation from me.
Can my home, vehicle, personal belongings or child support be taken to repay this debt?
A: The judgment has to be recorded in North Carolina first. This is done by them filing a new lawsuit ehre in North Carolina seeking to have the Florida judgment recognized and having you served with the lawsuit. Once that is granted, your creditor has to send you a "Notice of Right To Claim Exempt Property" which is typically served by the Sheriff or by mail, or can be served by a private process server. You have 20 days to claim your property as exempt. If you do this in a timely manner and all of your property is exempt, your property cannot be taken. You are alllowed $35,000.00 equity in your home and one vehicle worth $3,500.00. If you have less than $35,000.00 equity in your home, you may have an additional exemption you can use to protect your vehicle if it is worth over $3,500.00. Your clothing and furniture, etc. for yourself and your children are protected if you own very little of that. Your child support income cannot be levied or garnished. If you receive SSI, that cannot be leived or garnished up to 3 months worth of payments. Once the judgment is recorded in North Carolina in the county where you reside, it will be a lien on your home behind your mortgage. Judgments stay o record for 10 years and can be renewed in some circumstances for another 10 years. You will not be able to sell yout home or refinance it without paying off the judgment. I suggest you ahve a consultation with a bankruptcy attorney for further information. Bankruptcy is not the best option for everyone, but especially if the Judgment has been recorded here in North Carolina and if the judgment is large, it may end up being the most cost effective option.
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