Legal Question in Credit and Debt Law in New York


I have a large size judgment against a man. I want to levy his home, but his wifes name is on the house. There is no mortgage and the house is paid off...can I still force a sale on the property? even though the wife is on the deed as well?

Asked on 7/10/09, 10:43 am

2 Answers from Attorneys

Frank Loscalzo Law Office of Frank Loscalzo

Re: Judgment

If the house is owned as by A & B as husband and wife, this is called a "tenancy by entirety". You cannot force the sale on a tenancy by entirety if you only have a judgment against one spouse. Presumably you have a Supreme Court Judgment. If the Court and house are in the same county this judgment will act as a lien on the house. If they are in different counties you will need to register the judgment in the county where the house is located at the County Clerk's office. While you cannot act on the lien, the lien will make it very hard for them to borrow against the property, and even harder to sell the property, without paying you first. Otherwise you are waiting to see who dies first. If the spouse whom you have the judgment against dies first you are out of luck. Judgments are good for twenty years but judgement liens are only good for 10. You can renew them.

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Answered on 7/10/09, 11:23 am

jeffrey lazroe Jeffrey A. Lazroe attorney at law

Re: Judgment

I agree with Mr. Loscalzo.

What I have done in the past is force the sale of 1/2 undivided interest in the property against the debtor. What you receive is his interest. If his wife dies first the house would be yours no matter when she died. Also, there is some law that since you are 1/2 owner of an undivided interest you or someone you know can move in and they would become a trio. This always brings a payment of money.

If you need further assistance, please feel free to contact me.

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Answered on 7/14/09, 1:45 pm

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