If you have a judgment against a debtor, there are several options you have to try and collect it. One of those options is execution, or seeking to collect assets of the debtor to satisfy the debt. Unfortunately, Wisconsin has a long list of exemptions—certain assets that you can’t reach as a creditor.
Some of the more common exemptions are:
•The value of the debtor’s home up to $75,000;
•Child support or alimony payments;
•Social security or disability benefits;
•Some business and farm property, some household goods and some savings accounts;
•Retirement benefits; and
•75%, 80% or even 100% of the debtors’ wages (depending on the circumstances).
For some debtors, all of these exemptions might make them “judgment proof”—in other words, there’s nothing left to go after. But for others, it might just take some investigation. For example, the home exemption might mean a debtor’s Appleton house is off-limits but their cottage up near Green Bay is still fair game.
Because execution is complicated and full of these exemptions, it’s never a good idea to tackle it on your own. Always consult an attorney who can help you identify if execution is the best approach for you. This is especially true if the debtor is married—their spouse can claim all of those exemptions as well, making execution even trickier. Your attorney can help you identify what property you can actually reach and how to navigate the process.