What Happens When You Don’t Pay Your Debt?

While you cannot go to prison for failing to pay off your debts, there are some serious repercussions for not paying. If there is a judgment entered against you, this information can be reported to the credit bureaus and this will then show up on your credit history. This type of information will then be part of your credit history and can be reported on credit reports for up to seven years. Here are some of the things that can happen when you don’t pay for debts.


If you do not pay your debts, a judgment can be filed against you. Once this is done, you will be what is known as a judgment debtor. A judgment usually lasts up to 20 years, which means the person who obtained the judgment can collect within those 20 years until the debt is paid in full. Interest is accrued every year on this judgment.

Your Property

You can claim a homestead exception of up to $4,000 per person unless a judgment placed on you comes with a lien on your property.

Your Vehicle

There are also exemptions of up to $1,000 for the value of your vehicle. What this means is that your vehicle cannot be taken to pay the debt (or satisfy the judgment) unless the value of your car, less all of the debts of which if its collateral, equals more than $1,000.

Spousal Exemptions

If there is a judgment against only you and not your spouse, they are allowed by law to protect their own interest in the property. This means that property belonging to a wife or husband can be protected if there isn’t a judgment filed for both of them.

This post was written by Trey Wright, one of the best bankruptcy lawyers in Tallahassee FL! Trey is one of the founding partners of Bruner Wright, P.A. Attorneys at Law, which specializes in areas related to bankruptcy law, estate planning, and business litigation.

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