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Q&A: Can I lose my home over legal fees?

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 I just went through a divorce and the legal expenses that my ex-husband and I are left with are off the roof. If we can’t afford to pay, can the lawyers place a lien on my home and foreclose?

“After the divorce is over, if you owe your lawyer money, your lawyer can sue you and obtain a money judgment against you. If the lawyer obtains a judgment, this will attach to the house as a lien,” says attorney Jackie Harounian, partner at Wisselman, Harounian & Associates, P.C., in Great Neck. Your husband’s lawyer can do the same, but you can’t be held responsible for your husband’s legal fees -- that would come off his share of the house, and vice versa, she explains. "However, an attorney’s security interest in the martial residence cannot be foreclosed against you,” says Harounian. Keep in mind that a lien would prevent you from selling your home or refinancing in the future.

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