If I won a judgement in small claims court but the party against whom I got the judgment is planning on filing for bankruptcy, what does this mean for me?

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If I won a judgement in small claims court but the party against whom I got the judgment is planning on filing for bankruptcy, what does this mean for me?

If she files bankruptcy, what are the chances of me collecting my money? Under state law, I have 20 years to collect.

Asked on January 24, 2012 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If the person that you obtained a judgment against plans on filing for bankruptcy protection, there is a chance that you will not receive anything on the judgment from the judgment debtor.

I suggest that you have an abstract of judgment issued with respect to the judgment that you are writing about and when issued by the court clerk, record it with the county recorder's office where the judgment arose. By doing so, you will be in a somewhat of a higher creditor position than creditors who are not secured or have no recorded judgment against the person who owes you money.

If your judgment is for an intentional tort (fraud for example) the judgment cannot be discharged in bankruptcy as a result of public policy. You need to carefully read your judgment to see if it is for fraud for some intentional act of the judgment debtor.


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