If you win, can you successfully enforce the judgment?

Unfortunately, just because a court has granted you a judgment or order, does not necessarily mean that a successful party can realize upon that judgment or order. Individuals who have money awards made against them may subsequently go bankrupt or may have sheltered their assets in ways that prevent them from being seized. Certain types of assets, such as pension plans or segregated funds held with life insurance companies, are exempt from seizure under a judgment. Similarly, court orders and injunctions to do (or desist from doing) certain things are occasionally ignored.

Various mechanisms are available to deal with these issues, and to trace assets and seize them, including examination in aid of execution, seizure and sale, fraudulent conveyance statutes, etc. The reality, however, is that these remedies are expensive and time consuming to use and unless there is a strong likelihood of success, it can be a case of throwing good money after bad. For that reason, a less than ideal settlement with guaranteed payment can be a lot more useful than a court judgment awarding everything you want, which is not enforceable. This is an important consideration for parties to keep in mind when assessing their alternatives to a settlement.