Garnishment of Bank Account Explained

Arjun Kulkarni Feb 15, 2019
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It's a bad thing to happen to anyone. When your bank account gets garnished, you could be left with almost nothing, depending on your debts. Read ahead to know more about what you can do to avoid garnishment of bank account.
It is one of those skeletons-in-your-closet type of scenario. Just when you thought you were through with your whole debt problem and ready to start life anew, someone goes and opens that damned closet and the whole pile of bones falls out.
Figurative speaking aside, if you've had some debts left over, your creditor can take you to court and if deemed fit, the court sides with your creditor and allows him to bite of chunks of your bank account in which you've methodically stacked up some savings.

An Explanation on Garnishment

If you are unable, unfit to pay off the debts, your creditor goes to the court and proves that he owes money. The court will examine your financial status and belt out a judgement. If the court deems that you really cannot pay the dues owed to your creditor, your bank account or wages will be garnished accordingly, so that your outstanding debts may be paid.
You may have gathered from the paragraph given here that there are two basic types of garnishment: wage garnishment and garnishment of bank account. Usually, if you are a salaried employee or an employee on wages, the court will order that a portion of your monthly income, accorded to your creditor.
But what if you're unemployed and have no sources of income? This is where garnishment comes into picture. If you have a sizable chunk of cash parked in some bank account, the court will order garnishment of that account.

Garnishment Checking Account

It is clearly a pretty ironic looking scenario where 'garnishment' is concerned. While 'garnish' means 'to add' or 'to decorate', but in this case it basically adds zilch to your financial position by taking away the precious little which you have. Who can garnish bank account? Pretty much any creditor who can obtain a court order for garnishment can do so.
Which accounts can be garnished? The court can review your whole financial position, and slap an order on pretty much any account, except those which boast of some sort of government benefit. The bad news for your spouse is that if there is an account which is held jointly by you, that account too is liable.
Although most of the time, accounts held jointly by the indebted party with anyone else other than the spouse will not get garnished. If you try to transfer all the funds out of your bank account once the court orders garnishment, think again.
The creditor can use a skiptrace to trace your funds, and then reel them in. This is generally used as a last resort by the creditor. But once the court orders garnishment, your account is frozen and you cannot do much about it anyway.

Stop Garnishment of the Bank Account

It can be a pretty hard deal, especially when you're unemployed and the bank account is really all that you have left. As a last resort, you can appeal against it by proving to the court that the account is exempt from garnishment.
The first choice is of course to place a lien on your assets. So the best way to stop garnishment is to muster up some assets which you wouldn't mind getting rid of and try to pay back your creditor.