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Judgment is Entered Against You - What's Next?
Judgment is Entered Against You - What's Next?

Now that a Judgment has been entered against you, things change.  The creditor who has entered the judgment now has the right to go after your assets and your wages to satisfy the judgment.

It is difficult to predict how quickly the creditor will take steps to satisfy its judgment and exactly what the creditor will do.  But once a creditor has a judgment they are permitted to use a number of tools to satisfy its judgment.

For example, if you have money in a bank account, the creditor can levy your bank account without giving you any prior notice

One thing to remember is that the, initially, the funds are still in your bank account, but they are frozen and you do not have access to the money.  The creditor must take a second step of filing a Motion for Turnover of the funds.  Once the creditor receives an Order for Turnover, the funds are actually transferred to the creditor.  In most cases, if you file a bankruptcy before the Order for Turnover, the funds can be released to you.

Some funds - such as social security or disability payments - are exempt from being levied.  However, this does not mean that the creditor will not attempt to levy your bank account.  Once the account is levied, the burden is on you to prove that the funds are exempt.  This may be complicated if you mix funds from another sources, such as wages, or if the account is held jointly with you and another person.

Another actions the creditor may take is to garnish your wages.  The creditor may be able to receive up to 10% of your gross pay while the garnishment in effect.  Filing a bankruptcy immediately stops the garnishment.

Yet another remedy the creditor has after getting a judgment against you is to obtain a lien on your real estate.  A judgment lien may cause difficulties in selling or refinancing your home, or in obtaining a loan modification.  Depending on how much equity you have in your home, filing a bankruptcy can be used to remove judgment liens on your real estate.

Other actions the creditor may take is to place a levy on your vehicle or to inventory your household possessions in an effort to satisfy the judgment. 

If you have a judgment entered against you, you should seek legal advice immediately.  Often filing a bankruptcy quickly can save you a great deal of money and prevent the disruption in your ability to pay for essentials such as rent and food. 

Usually, the worst thing you can do is to ignore a judgment.  Call my office as soon as possible after receiving a judgment to go over your options for preventing the Creditor to execute on its judgment.

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