Lancaster Lawsuits & Judgments Lawyers
Anytime that you are unable to pay a creditor, such as a credit card bill or a loan payment, the creditor has the right to file a civil lawsuit against you and potentially obtain a judgment. The judgment itself is simply a court order confirming the debt exists and that the creditor has certain legal rights to collect the money they are owed. But that does not mean that you, as the debtor, can simply be forced to hand over all of your property.
Indeed, many Los Angeles County debtors are considered “judgment proof” based on their assets. And even if they are not, debtors can still seek certain protections from a civil judgment by filing for bankruptcy. A qualified Lancaster lawsuits & judgments lawyer can review your specific financial and legal situation and advise you on the best course of action. Wadhwani & Shanfeld is a firm focused on providing bankruptcy and debt relief services to clients throughout southern California. We can walk you through the options for dealing with judgment creditors and help you protect what you have.
Are You “Judgment Proof” Under California Law?
The term “judgment proof” refers to the fact that California law exempts a number of assets from judgment creditors. In other words, if an asset is exempt, then your creditors cannot touch them even if they have obtained a civil judgment against you. For many financially struggling debtors, California’s exemptions will cover all of their personal property, thus making them effectively judgment proof.
Some of the more commonly used California creditor exemptions include:
- Homestead: You can protect the equity in your primary residence up to a certain amount. In California, this exemption is the greater of $300,000 or the median sale price for a single-family home in your county for the prior calendar year (up to $600,000).
- Motor Vehicles: Up to $7,500 of equity in the aggregate value of any cars, trucks, or other motor vehicles you own is exempt.
- Wages: Seventy-five percent of your wages after deducted taxes are exempt.
- Pensions: Most types of retirement benefits, including Social Security, military retirement, and county and state public pensions, are exempt.
- Household Items: Any common household items that are considered “ordinarily and reasonably necessary” for you and your family are exempt, such as household furniture, appliances, and clothing.
- Art, Heirlooms, and Jewelry: You can exempt up to $8,725 in art, heirlooms, and jewelry.
This is just a partial list of exemptions and there may be exceptions for certain kinds of civil judgments. So it is important to consult with a qualified Lancaster lawsuits and judgments lawyer before asserting any exemption before a creditor or the court.
Contact Wadhwani & Shanfeld Today
In some cases, the fact that a debtor is judgment proof makes a bankruptcy filing unnecessary. That said, there are situations where it may benefit a debtor to consider bankruptcy. So if you need legal advice from a skilled Lancaster lawsuits and judgments attorney, contact Wadhwani & Shanfeld today to schedule an initial consultation.