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How can a judgement lien be collected in PA? I don't own any real estate. Can my wages be garnished?

Martinsburg, WV |

I have a lien but I do not understand what the terms are and the consequences of not paying it. What does the lien mean? I don't own real estate or have any personal property of value.

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Attorney answers 2


There is no wage garnishment in Pennsylvania for most kinds of debt. There is a exception for judgments for back rent owed to a landlord.

There is no homestead/real property exemption in PA so if you did own any land it would not be protected unless it was mortgaged or you owned with a spouse.

However, I would be more concerned about your personal property, like a car or a bank account.

Do you have any personal property in Pennsylvania? Judgments last for 20 years on personal property and there is no exemption for a car or other motor vehicle. Regarding bank accounts, do not bank at a big multi-state bank if you have a judgment against you. Only bank at a very small community bank that is located solely in West Virginia or some state other than Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania only allows you to exempt up to $300 in any one bank account unless you get something like Social Security.

Any creditor with a Pennsylvania judgment can, if they want to, transfer the judgment to any other state where you do own property and have it enforced just like a judgment in that state. I have not seen this done with credit card or unsecured debt, but it is possible. It would depend on what you own, how its titled and where its located.

Since the PA judgment can last a long time, you might want to think about resolving the judgment at some point or getting it discharged in bankruptcy if you have lots of debts.


Also your bank account can be garnished.

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