What happens to a judgment in your favor if you file bankruptcy? 27 Answers as of February 28, 2014

I was awarded a sizeable judgment in civil court after being conned out of a lot of money. 7 years later, I am left with no choice but to file for bankruptcy. What happens to the judgment?

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MCBRIDE LAW OFFICE | Robert E. McBride
First of all, if the judgment has not been paid in full by the judgment debtor such that you are still owed an unpaid balance, the balance must be disclosed as an asset on your Schedule B. The disposition of any outstanding balance will depend on a variety of factors including the type of bankruptcy (Chapter 7, 11 or 13) you file, the collect-ability of the balance, and your available exemptions.
Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
Replied: 2/28/2014
GARCIA & GONZALES, P.C.
GARCIA & GONZALES, P.C. | Richard N. Gonzales
The judgment becomes property of the bankruptcy estate. If the Trustee thinks he/she can collect the judgment, they will. They will pay off your creditors (creditors who file a proof of claim), and any excess amounts will be turned over to you. If the Trustee does not think the judgment is collectable, the Trustee will abandon any interest in the judgment.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 2/25/2014
The Law Office of M Grater LLC
The Law Office of M Grater LLC | Mark O. Grater
The award must be listed as an asset of your estate when you file bankruptcy and then you have to apply the available bankruptcy exemption in order to keep it, assuming there is enough exemption available to keep all of it.
Answer Applies to: Connecticut
Replied: 2/25/2014
Stuart P Gelberg
Stuart P Gelberg | Stuart P Gelberg
If you can not exempt it or a portion of it, the trustee gets to try to liquidate it. Assume you will lose it if it is collectible.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 2/21/2014
Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
The judgment is an asset of the bankruptcy estate. It is the trustee's unless he abandons it back to you.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 2/21/2014
    Law Office of Marlin Branstetter
    Law Office of Marlin Branstetter | Marlin Branstetter
    The judgment becomes property of the bankruptcy estate. Depending upon what other assets you have a portion of the judgment may be exempt but if the judgment is collectible the bankruptcy trustee may have the proceeds assigned to him and use the proceeds to pay your creditors. If the judgment does not appear to be collectible the trustee may abandon it and you could then attempt to enforce it.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/21/2014
    Portland Bankruptcy Law Group
    Portland Bankruptcy Law Group | Christopher J. Kane
    If you are a judgment creditor and have not yet been paid, that is an asset of yours that will be taken into account when you file bankruptcy. The Trustee might be able to pursue that judgment debtor and, if they are successful, may distribute the money among your creditors. However, there might be an exemption available to you that would protect all or part of that judgment. You should consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney to determine the ramifications of your situation.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 2/21/2014
    Danville Law Group | Scott Jordan
    It becomes property of the bankruptcy estate. If the Trustee decides not to collect on the judgment, it will be considered abandoned and you will retain the judgment and the right to collect.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/21/2014
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Marjorie Guymon
    The trustee will review and determine whether the judgment can be collected. If not, and it sounds like it can't and may even now be "dead" due to statute of limitations on collection, nothing will happen to the judgment.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 2/21/2014
    Deborah F Bowinski, Attorney & Counselor at Law | Debby Bowinski
    The judgment is an asset and must be listed as such. Unless there is an exemption that fits and that you claim properly the trustee in your bankruptcy case will "step into your shoes" as far as owning the right to try to collect on the judgment. You said you obtained judgment but you did not indicate what, if anything, you have done or are doing to try to collect on it. You really should speak with a bankruptcy lawyer who can advise regarding the specifics of your situation.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 2/21/2014
    The Troglin Firm | William M. Troglin
    The judgment amount must be listed as an asset on schedule B and use whatever exemption is available to help protect it. However, if you have not been able to collect it in seven years, it doesn't appear to be collectible. I would also point out that the recorded Fi. Fa. (judgment) expires after seven years, if you don't have the Sheriff's department issue a "nulla bona" stating a search for assets was made but none were found and file it on the General Execution Docket in the county where the judgment was granted to extend it for seven more years.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 2/21/2014
    Idaho Bankruptcy Law | Paul Ross
    The Chapter 7 Trustee steps into your shoes and can attempt to collect on the debt (there is not an exemption for it under Idaho law). Of course it can depend on whether or not the debt is collectible whether (s)he will move forward on it.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 2/21/2014
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
    It becomes the property of the bankruptcy estate. The trustee will try to collect on it. If the trustee decides it is noncollectable, it will be "abandoned" back to you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/21/2014
    Law Office of J. Thomas Black, P.C.
    Law Office of J. Thomas Black, P.C. | J. Thomas Black
    Unless you are able to claim the judgment in your favor as exempt, a chapter 7 trustee would be entitled to it. They could seek to collect it, or if they do not believe it is collectible, they could "abandon" it and you would then be entitled to seek collection yourself. Alternatively, you could offer to buy your interest in the judgment from the trustee. In chapter 13 or chapter 11 bankruptcy, you generally remain in possession of your assets including any judgments, but you would have to propose a plan to repay your creditors at least what they would receive in a chapter 7 case. I recommend that you invest in a free consultation with an experienced bankruptcy attorney to obtain a more complete explanation of your rights.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 2/21/2014
    Garner Law Office
    Garner Law Office | Daniel Garner
    Any claim you have against someone else for money becomes property of the bankruptcy estate under the supervision of the trustee. You might be able to claim an exemption for all or part of it, and the trustee might not pursue it if s/he deems it un-collectible, but you certainly have to report it. The theory is that the judgment could be used to pay part of the debt you are discharging in bankruptcy. The trustee typically has more resources to pursue collection than does a bankrupt debtor.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 2/21/2014
    Law Office of Jeffrey Solomon
    Law Office of Jeffrey Solomon | Jeffrey Solomon
    When you are owed money by a third party and you file chapter 7 bankruptcy, the chapter 7 trustee has a right to collect for the benefit of your creditors any funds that are owed to you. You would be giving up your rights to collect on the judgment unless the trustee "abandons" any right to collect these funds. After 7 years it may be this judgment is not collectible.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 2/21/2014
    Steele, George, Schofield & Ramos, LLP
    Steele, George, Schofield & Ramos, LLP | Alan E. Ramos
    The judgment in your favor is an asset that must be listed in your Schedule B. You should consider exempting as much of the judgment as you can. If you are filing a Chapter 7, the Trustee may try to settle the judgment and use the proceeds to pay creditors.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/21/2014
    Heineman Law Office
    Heineman Law Office | Jeff Heineman
    First, if you received your judgment 7 years ago and did not renew it before the end of 5 years, then your judgment is no good. You must renew your judgment before the end of the 5th year after its entry, and then subsequent renewals. If you did renew it, and therefore still effective, then it is property of the estate, and the trustee may attempt to collect from the individual. While it is property of the estate and the trustee may collect from the one who owes you, you may still attempt to collect from that person after the bankruptcy is over (if he/she still owes money on the judgment after the trustee is done). Of course, the trustee may not find it worth his/her effort to attempt collecting from this individual and he may abandon the claim.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 2/21/2014
    Havkin & Shrago | Stella Havkin
    The trustee can go and collect on the judgment assign it's collectible. The trustee then uses the money collected to pay your creditors.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/21/2014
    Mark S Cherry, Attorney at Law, PC
    Mark S Cherry, Attorney at Law, PC | Mark Cherry
    You need to list the judgment as an asset. The trustee has the right to pursue it and collected can be used for your creditors. If the trustee chooses not to collect it, ask the trustee to abandon the asset so you can continue collection action.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 2/21/2014
    Law Office of Stuart M. Nachbar, P.C.
    Law Office of Stuart M. Nachbar, P.C. | Stuart M. Nachbar
    Technically that Judgment is part of the estate and it goes to the Trustee who can collect it and use the funds to pay creditors. Get with a good Bankruptcy attorney who may be able to exempt out part of it for you.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 2/21/2014
    Law Offices of Eric W. I. Anglin
    Law Offices of Eric W. I. Anglin | Eric W. I. Anglin
    It depends on the trustee assigned to your case. The trustee may collect the judgment for the benefit of your creditors or abandon it if he/she believes that the time and expense to collect the judgment would not result in a meaningful distribution for your creditors.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 2/21/2014
    Meister & McCracken Law Firm, PLLC | Joanne M. McCracken
    Is it collectible? The judgment is an asset that you own and would be part of the bankruptcy estate. The trustee has a right to try to collect it and use the money to distribute in an equitable manner to your creditors. If the trustee is not able to collect the money, the trustee will eventually abandon the asset but the judgment must be disclosed to the court.
    Answer Applies to: Arkansas
    Replied: 2/21/2014
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC | Darren Aronow
    The judgment is an asset of your bankruptcy estate which has to be disclosed on your petition. If the trustee wants to pursue it and seize it to take to pay the unsecured creditors, then he can.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 2/21/2014
    The Salas Firm
    The Salas Firm | Ron Salas
    Most likely the judgment will become property of the Estate, the Trustee will take ownership and use the proceeds to pay your creditors.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 2/21/2014
    Haskell Law Firm | Lori Haskell
    Depends on the amount and what exemptions you have. You can exempt lawsuit proceeds, but only up to a certain amount. The rest would go to the court to pay off your creditors and anything remaining after paying creditors would go to you.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 2/21/2014
    Fluhr & Moore, LLC | Steven S. Fluhr
    The judgment becomes part of your bankruptcy estate unless the trustee abandons his/her interest in the judgment.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 2/21/2014
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