What happens if a creditor wins judgement against me and I can’t afford to pay?

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What happens if a creditor wins judgement against me and I can’t afford to pay?

If the creditor wins judgement and I can’t afford to pay, what happens? Can I be arrested? I have only my personal belongings and less than $2,400 in the bank. I checked and in my state that amount is considered exempt in savings. Is there anything else they could try and come after like my personal belongings (computer, TV). Finally, could I be arrested for not showing up to the hearing?

Asked on June 16, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Please relax and take a deep breath.  I can tell that you are very upset about this all.  These are tough times and it is surely a difficult thing to go through.  First, you will not be arrested.  This is not a criminal proceeding; it is a civil proceeding.  Now, I know that it is scary but it is always better to go to the proceeding and to ask to speak with a mediator or judge to try and negotiate the debt down to payments you can make.  If a judgement is obtained they can go against personal items.  You might want to speak with a debt consultant as to your options.  Good luck.


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