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Can the funds in my bank account be seized or frozen by collectors?

fight wage garnishmentThe short answer is yes! If you owe creditors, collectors or anyone else money, they can obtain a money judgment and have the funds in your bank account frozen or they can seize them outright. Here is a brief overview of the rules:

Whoever holds a judgment against you can go to someone else who owes you money or is holding money for you and intercept that money through a wage garnishment or garnishment of your bank account.

Anyone who owes you money, or holds money for you, is called the “garnishee defendant” and through the garnishment process, can be forced to reveal to the court how much money they owe you. Then, the court can require, through an order called a Writ of Garnishment, to force the bank or your employer to pay a certain part of the money owed to you, into the court registry.

After receiving payment, the court turns the money over to whoever holds the judgment. In order for someone to garnish your wages or bank account, they need to know someone who owes you money or where you bank or where you work before they can proceed with a garnishment action.

The garnishment process costs a small fee (around $20.00 in most states), plus the costs of serving the papers. You will more than likely have to pay these fees as well.

Note: Only disposable earnings and the amount set by state law can be garnished from wages. Ask the clerk of the court for the correct amount in your state.

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State Garnishment Laws

Federal Wage Garnishment Law

Garnishment actions on wages and bank accounts