Unresponsive Judgment Buyers

August 13, 2023


During the previous boom economic times and general upward mobility, it was not difficult to sell a judgment for cash. Only s judgment debtor can repay a judgment, so everything depends on the current status of the specific judgment debtor(s). When your judgment debtor does not have ample available assets or income showing, nobody will pay much for your judgment. And, nobody will pay more than a penny on the dollar for broke judgment debtors. If the debtor is poor and is also old or sick, you probably could not even pay someone to take your judgment off your hands.

This article is my opinion, and not legal advice. I am a judgment broker, and am not a lawyer. If you ever need any legal advice or a strategy to use, please contact a lawyer. The economy alone, has made judgments much more difficult to sell or recover. Even when your judgment debtor has money, if they are experts at hiding it, or moving assets where they cannot be reached by creditors; nobody will pay much cash upfront for your judgment.

Anyone that buys a judgment must recover something from it, to merely break even. In boom times, people were much more willing to risk spending money; to buy a judgment and then spend more money and time trying to recover it. The economy has depressed judgment buying in three ways:

1) Like most of us, most judgment buyers are lower on funds now than they used to be. Many have been burned from buying judgments in the past, when the economy first went south. Now, buyers are very picky about which judgments they will risk their money to buy. Most do not have enough liquid assets to pay (cash upfront) what might be fair for the few giant judgments with giant debtor assets.

2) Courts have raised their fees, and most have downsized, and some have even closed down. Most courts now place a much lower priority on judgment recovery proceedings or actions. Recovering judgments always depends on the local courts.

3) Many judgment debtors are now broke, or at least more broke than they used to be. The primary ways to recover judgments are recording a lien on property, or garnishing/levying either bank accounts or wages. Without liens on property with sufficient equity, or employment income/bank accounts to garnish, judgment recovery is difficult at best.

If your judgment debtor has no available assets, it will be difficult to even find anyone to attempt to recover your judgment on a contingency basis. Also, it will be almost impossible to find a judgment buyer at more than a pennies on the dollar.

If your judgment debtor has assets, it is very important to identify them. “He used to own lots of property and kept them in a relative’s name” will not interest a judgment buyer. The three things that may interest a judgment buyer are:

1) Clearly identified assets the judgment debtor now owns, for example, property and expensive vehicles. Note that when property has a lien against it or is leased, it will not interest a judgment buyer because liened or leased property usually cannot be used to satisfy a judgment.

2) Clearly identified current income of the judgment debtor, for example where they work. Note that when there is a previous wage garnishment in place, it usually prevents a new creditor from garnishing those wages to satisfy a judgment.

3) Clearly identified possible future assets of the debtor, for example if they may soon inherit property.

The more assets your judgment debtor has, the less likely it is that you would have sued them. Also, the more likely it is that they would have already paid you. Finally, more debtor assets increase the chances that you would be able to sell your judgment; and the more money you are likely to get for it on a future payment contingency basis.

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