Although Texas law prevents creditors from using homestead property to satisfy judgments, a lien may still appear on your home, creating a cloud on your title that makes it difficult to sell the property or using it as finance collateral. If you face this situation, the attorneys at the Law Office of David A. Fernandez, P.C. in Houston can help you to obtain a partial release of the lien to protect your rights.
A lien is a legal interest that a creditor acquires on property of a debtor in order to enforce collection of money owed, such as damages awarded in a court judgment. If the debtor defaults on payment, the creditor can force a sale of the property and use the proceeds to pay off the debt. A judgment lien can limit your ability to sell or refinance your property, since a title insurance company will likely not issue a policy. A partial release of lien is a legal document issued by a creditor that limits the effect of the lien so that it doesn’t affect a subsequent purchaser or mortgage lender.
In Texas, a homestead — generally defined as a person’s primary home — is exempt from foreclosure to enforce a money judgment. Still, a creditor might place a lien on residential property and leave it to the owner to prove homestead status. If that happens, the debtor must ask for a partial release of lien in order to complete a sale or refinancing.
A 2007 law provides Texas homeowners with an important remedy against judgment liens. It allows qualifying debtors to obtain partial releases of judgment liens against their homesteads so that the liens don’t affect subsequent purchasers or mortgagors. A homestead is defined under the law as either:
There is an involved legal procedure that must be followed to take advantage of this remedy. What’s more, a creditor may have the right to object based on a showing of good cause. If an objection is raised, the dispute may have to be resolved in a court proceeding.
This statutory procedure is available only for judgment liens created after September 1, 2007. For liens created earlier, a release is more difficult to obtain but is still possible with the aid of skilled counsel.
Whichever path to obtaining a release you may qualify for, we can prepare the necessary documents and contest any objections raised by lien holders. We also can advise you on other methods of protecting your home from creditors.
If a judgment lien is preventing you from selling or refinancing your Texas homestead, call on the Law Office of David A. Fernandez, P.C. for help. To schedule an appointment at our uptown Houston office, call us at 713-893-8509 or contact us online today. We offer free initial telephone consultations.
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