Do I have to prove exempt assets once a default judgement is entered against me in a civil case?

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Do I have to prove exempt assets once a default judgement is entered against me in a civil case?

I am aware of an exemption for a vehicle ($5,000), home equity ($50,000), and a “wild card” for unused exemptions(up to $5,000). I am being sued by a creditor for an unpaid unsecured loan and I do not wish to contest so it will be a default judgement. When that happens they will go after whatever assets they can I am sure. The thing is that all the assets I have (house with almost no equity, car valued a little less than $5,000, and motorcycle valued less than $5,000) should be exempt. Does that mean that all they can do is attach a lien to my home so that I must pay it if I try to sell the house?

Asked on August 13, 2010 under Bankruptcy Law, South Carolina

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

First, I would suggest that you do not allow the party to take a default judgement.  Is there no way that you can re-negotiate the loan to make it easy to pay?  Or to file for a Chapter 13 to do so?  A judgement in South Carolina is good for 10 years.  That is a long time.  They will not only file a lien but garnish wages and attach bank accounts.  They can come after personal assets as well. You will not be able to breathe financially. 

Additionally, as I read the South Carolina statute on exemptions I believe that you may not be correct in the amounts. And the property "may be" exempt.  If a judge rules otherwise you will be out of luck.  Seek help with all of this from a debt counselor in your area.  Good luck.


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