There are two ways to obtain any attachment: (1) with notice to the defendant, and (2) without notice to the defendant (“ex parte”).
Generally Massachusetts courts are reluctant to issue ex parte attachments on real estate because fraudulent transfers of real estate are traceable and real estate is generally hard to sell.
However, a court may issue a real estate attachment if a sale is pending or a clear danger exists that if the defendant is notified in advance of the attachment, it will convey or conceal the asset. A court may also allow an attachment if an immediate danger exists that the defendant will damage or destroy the property.
As with all matters of discretion, different judges interpret the attachment standard differently. Some judges will not issue an ex parte attachment under any circumstances. Others will properly issue an ex parte attachment upon a demonstration that the debtor cannot be trusted not to take any action if notified in advance of an attachment motion.
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