Legal Question in Credit and Debt Law in Pennsylvania

If a judegement is passed against you in civil court for an unreturned enagagement ring, can the person take your car and personal property for payment if you have no funds?

Asked on 5/08/13, 1:35 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Why let it go that far? Just return the engagement ring if you have it.

Assuming that a money judgment is entered against you, PA only provides limited exemptions. You can have up to $300 in any one bank account and a Bible, work clothes/uniforms, your clothes and if you are a seamstress with a sewing machine, that. There are some other exemptions (for retirement, insurance proceeds etc.) but there is no homestead exemption and no exemption for a car. There is for bankruptcy, but not state court judgments.

However, that does not automatically mean that the plaintiff will have the sheriff seize your stuff. Most creditors want money, not your personal possessions. There is no real market in used furniture and household goods other than yard sale value. Also, while there is no homestead exemption, do you own land? Is it mortgaged or are you married and is the land owned jointly by you and your spouse? If so, the land is safe from seizure. Regarding a car, is it still financed? If so, its probably safe too. And cars are depreciating assets so that when its paid off, its not worth very much.

And you can always file bankruptcy and seek to get any judgments discharged. Or you can make payment arrangements or try to save up the funds to pay the money judgment at some point. But its so much easier if you have the ring to just give it back.

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Answered on 5/08/13, 10:30 pm

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