What is a Writ of Execution? What does it mean? If you’ve received a Writ of Execution, you are in trouble. No doubt about it. A Writ of Execution is an attempt by the creditor to take your assets from you, without your permission. A Writ of Execution can only be had where the creditor has sued you and won. In other words, you lost a lawsuit and didn’t pay up.
We receive calls on a daily basis asking if we can help at this point. To be honest, most times the answer is no. The time to contact an attorney is before the judgment is entered, not after.
Having said that, there are situations where we can help. The first thing that we would look at is whether we can attack the judgment in some manner. If you weren’t properly served with the lawsuit, or, if the notices are defective, these are two avenues to possibly attack the judgment. The other issue to look at is who owns the assets that the creditor is trying to execute on? For the most part, a creditor can only go after assets of the person whom they have the judgment against. This is a big deal to married people. Creditor has a judgment against H. Creditor issues a Writ of Execution against H and the Sheriff comes to visit H’s house. H is married to W. Sheriff cannot levy (expose to a public sale) any property that is owned by H & W together. In a household of married people, there is a strong presumption that all of the property within is jointly owned by Husband an d Wife. In almost every instance, Creditor will not be successful in trying to execute on marital property (unless it has a judgment against BOTH spouses).
What about property that is jointly owned by two people who are not spouses? This is very different. In this instance, it is possible for the judgment creditor to execute on joint property. If this occurs, the joint owner who does not have the judgment issued against him/her has the opportunity to ask for a Sheriff Determination Hearing. At this hearing, the joint owner can assert his/her rights in the ownership of the asset and the court will determine whether the Creditor can go after that asset or not.
The other way that we can help with a Writ of Execution is to try to work a settlement. At this point, the creditor has you over a barrel if you have any money in your checking account, but, we have pretty good relationships with many of the creditor attorneys and we may be able to work a favorable settlement for you.
While we offer a free consult on most cases, please know that Writs of Execution are very difficult to deal with. If you have received one of these, be prepared to receive some pretty bad news…. in most instances.
If you have a lawsuit or a judgment against you, contact our office at 412-348-8600 for a free, no obligation consultation.