Anyone Can Garnish Your Bank Account
This is sad, but true. If someone holds themselves out as a creditor, and claim you owe them money, all they have to do is go to the courthouse, and file an order for garnishment of your bank account. Sometimes, it is justified. Other times, it is just a scam to get money from you.
I want to tell you about an experience I had with this ten years ago. My late wife and I purchase a house in 2001. Two years after we moved in, two people in the neighborhood decided they wanted to start a neighborhood association. A neighborhood, or homeowners’ association is something that a home owner has to agree to at the time the home is purchased. This was after the fact, in which case, we were not required by law to agree to it. My home, which I am still living in, is in a neighborhood with about 15 other residents. Only 4 homeowners were willing to go along with this. The two home owners who wanted to start this association tried to collect a substantial sum of money from each homeowner, which many were not willing to pay, including my wife and me. A year later, one of the two decided to put a lien on our house. Shortly thereafter, he filed a court order to garnish our bank account. Immediately, we turned it over to our attorney, who stopped the order immediately, and persuaded the home owner to remove the judgement and the garnish immediately. This placed us in an uncomfortable situation, just knowing that someone could easily garnish our bank account..
This may or may not have been a scam. But this is not the point here. The point is, stopping someone from following through if they have ordered a garnishment on your bank account. Beware! The sharks are out there.
How to Prevent a Garnish to Your Account
Once you receive a notice that a court order for a garnishment of your bank account has been issued, this does not necessarily mean that the garnish has occurred. But if you do nothing, a garnish will take place. This means that the money is taken out of your bank account. In a few days, an order of garnishment will be issued to the bank. Before this happens, this is what I recommend that you do to stop it.
Remove all of your money from the bank at once, and move it to another bank. An order for garnishment is issued on one particular bank. The garnish is ordered for that bank only. If you transfer your money to another bank, your funds are safe. Of course, the person who got the court order could eventually garnish the bank where your funds have been transferred. If the garnishment is not justified, there is a chance that the garnishee will not go to all of that trouble a second time, but don’t take this to the bank (no pun intended). I recommend doing business with more than one bank anyway. This is good business.
Eventually, an order of garnishment will be issued to the bank on which it was filed. At this time, the bank will be ordered to turn over the money to the so-called creditor. If you have transferred your money to another bank, there will be nothing in your bank account to garnish. In this case, the garnishment is over. If you decide to transfer your money back to that bank, your funds are safe. No one can touch it, unless a second order is obtained by the court. Again, you will be notified in advance.
Another way to stop your bank account from a garnishment is to establish a relationship with the people at the courthouse. This is usually the district court in your County. Since this situation relates to your livelihood, they will give you any information that you need to know. This way, you can stay on top of the situation, and prevent any disasters before they occur.
Some garnishments are justified. Unfortunately, others are not. There are some people out there who are going to try to take your money if they know you have some, and they know they can. If an order of garnishment has been issued for your bank account, and it is not legitimate, it may not happen again if you stop it the first time. On the other hand, it may. You should protect yourself. Consult your attorney. If it is a scam, he can stop it.
Finally, you will know who is trying to garnish your account, because it will be on the court order that you originally receive. If you believe it is not justified, you should ask your attorney if you can go after them for any costs that you incur. Your attorney can advise you of this.
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