By: Ryan C. Wood
First of all, there is judgment and judgement. What is the difference? Nothing in the definition of the word is different except the spelling. According to various internet sources and particularly Oxford Dictionaries the English/British spelling is “Judgement” and the American spelling is “Judgment.” To obtain a judgment a creditor must file a complaint and then be granted a judgment. Once it is obtain then it can be enforced. It begs the questions can it even be enforced though?
So, are you judgement proof or judgment proof? This means, to put it bluntly, if you owe money to a business or individual what can they do to you to collect the money owed? If you have no real property such as a house or raw land there is no way the creditor can attach a lien to that property to try and get paid. If you have no job then you have no wages that can be garnished. If you have no bank accounts there are no funds to be levied on to satisfy the debt. If you have none of that though how is this person living?
There are not too many people that can be truly defined as judgement proof or judgment proof. There are some though. Certain government benefits cannot be garnished such as social security income. So someone with a sole source of income where garnishment is not available is one way. Others receive help from generous friends or family members to get by day to day. These are the two most common examples. Age is also a factor. If someone is young it is likely they will work again, own property or have bank accounts in the future so there will be ways to collect from them. If someone is 60 years old they may not ever need credit again, own land or choose to work again.
So if all of your debts are uncollectable and someone files a lawsuit against you what do you do? Do you spend thousands of dollars and defend the lawsuit? Do you just ignore it? Should someone file bankruptcy and discharge the debt to make it all go away? Even if they obtain a judgment for the debt owed, enforcement of judgment against what? None of these questions can be completely answered for everyone. It all depends upon what the individual believes is the best thing for them. Some people do not want a judgment ever entered against them no matter what. Individuals do choose to file for bankruptcy protection and discharge their debts even though there is nothing creditors can do to hurt them financially. For many the sad truth is filing for bankruptcy protection is cheaper than fighting a lawsuit for a debt that may or may not be owed. Litigation is expensive and it is a bar or prevents justice for all. So, judgement proof or judgment proof is having the circumstances that a creditor cannot collect a debt from you or enforce a judgment against you.