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If the plaintiff wins judgement against me for unsecured debt but I cannot pay, how do they go about satisfying their judgement

Boston, MA |

Is there any chance of having the case dismissed? I am college aged but I had to drop out when I couldn't afford to pay for it anymore. what steps would they try and take against me? i want to know what to be prepred for. in case it matters, i don't own a home, car, don't have any income coming in, what money i do have is in my savings account and according to Massachusetts state laws, it's exempt. i am mainly worried about my personal belongings and being arrested if I can't pay.

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Attorney answers 3


You won't be arrested for inability to pay and they won't likely take your personal belongings. If you don't file for bankruptcy and they want to examine you under oath about your income and your assets, cooperate. The only way you can end up arrested is if you fail to show up for a court ordered examination.

I hope you can find a way to finish college somewhere.

I am happy to answer general questions about my practice areas on this website. . However as I'm sure you understand we do not have an attorney/client relationship. Therefore my suggestions do not constitute legal advice. I urge you to contact counsel in your jurisdiction from whom you feel you can obtain trusted information.


The court system is full of people who can not pay . I have had clients come in with multiple judgments for many years before opting to file bankruptcy . As long as you show up at court hearings, you will not be arrested.

I have often experienced people think they have no assets when in fact they do accordin to the law. Accordinly, I place great vaue in having a collection/bankruptcy lawyer go through your assets to insure you are judgment proof before into a supplementary process hearin where the creditor will ask about your ability to pay.


Generally speaking (and the answer varies from state to state; I'm unfamiliar with MA law), a creditor can do the following after obtaining a judgment:

Garnish wages
Garnish bank accounts
Garnish money you are owed from the people/companies who owe you
Place a lien on your real estate
Attach and sell your car and household goods
Require you to come to Court and answer questions under oath about what you have

Again, the rules vary from state to state, and not all creditors will try to use all of these.

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