Legal Question in Credit and Debt Law in Pennsylvania

If judgement is rendered, in civil case where I owe $4500. to a computer company, because I did not appear, how can the "company" actually recoup it's loss if I have no money and no real property?

Asked on 9/05/13, 6:00 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Easy. They will seek to levy on your bank account if you get income from any non-exempt source. If you keep more than $300 in any one bank account it will be at risk unless you take steps to protect against this by not having a bank account or by banking at a purely online bank or purely out of state bank or a credit union.

There is no wage garnishment in PA for most debts of this type. However, judgments last a long long time. On real property, they last for 5 years but they can be revived so that the judgment can continue to be enforced on the real property. For personal property (cars or a bank account) they last for 20 years. When I say that judgments last for a period, I do not mean that they go away. They never go away. They can only be enforced for 5 years on real property (unless revived) and 20 years on personal property.

While you say you have no money and own no real property today, I don't know your age or circumstances. If you are someone who will be looking to acquire assets or need credit in the future, then know that the judgment will be on your credit for 7 years from the date of entry of the judgment. With an outstanding judgment, you will not be able to get a mortgage. If you have a car, you can get a car loan but if the judgment is on your credit, your rate is going to be significantly higher.

You need to think about resolving this judgment at some point, depending on your circumstances. You can either settle at some point or if you have at least $10,000 in dischargeable debts, consider filing bankruptcy.

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Answered on 9/09/13, 9:42 pm

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