What It Means to Be “Judgement-Proof”

Prior to the establishment of the United States, people in England who did not pay their debts were sent to debtor's prison. Today, in the United States, there is no debtor’s prison and creditors can only enforce judgments if they can locate the assets of the judgement debtor, and have them sold to liquidate the debt or by garnishing their wages. If a debtor truly has no job or assets, he is said to be “judgement proof” because a judgment creditor has nothing to sell or garnish. Many debtors, however, merely pretend to be judgement proof! They really do have assets, but attempt to hide them.