Have you ever gone to use your debit card at the grocery store, gas station, etc., but it’s declined even though you were recently paid? Does your bank then tell you that your account has been overdrawn due to a creditor garnishing your bank account? If so, we are here to help you! Bank account and wage garnishments are actually far more common than you might think. Many of our clients who face this type of situation think that their money is lost. However, if you act fast enough, you might be able to recover some, if not all of those funds. There are several ways to take action against your bank account or wages being garnished such as a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, settlement, or even fighting the case. There are benefits and drawbacks to all options, so you may want to consider reviewing all options with an attorney before moving forward.
First, let's break down what a garnishment is. A bank account or wage garnishment is any legal procedure through which a person's bank account funds or portion of a person's earnings is required to be withheld for the payment of a debt. Most garnishments of bank accounts start with a lawsuit against you. In the lawsuit, a court determined that you were responsible to pay a debt and granted the creditor the right to collect that money. Consumer debts, creditor cards, personal loans and old auto loans are all common sources of wage garnishment. Sometimes other types of procedures for garnishments include IRS or state collection agency levies for unpaid taxes. The garnishment can be filed over and over again until the debts are paid in full. The amount being garnished from your wages will vary based on the exemptions available in particular states. There are two types of garnishment:
- Wage garnishment: creditors can legally require your employer to hand over part of your earnings to to pay off your debts.
- Non-wage garnishment: creditors can tap into your bank account to take the money you owe.
We understand that dealing with debt can be overwhelming and stressful, which is why we strongly suggest you take action fast. Bankruptcy may seem like an extreme option, but it can allow you to discharge certain types of debt while also being protected from debt collection agencies. It is beneficial to speak with an experienced attorney regarding your individual financial situation as an assessment of your case will reveal if bankruptcy is the best option moving forward. Legal guidance can ensure that you make a choice that is in your interest, leading to a more secure financial future. If you need help recovering funds that have been garnished or help dealing with creditors, give our office a call at (804) 355-1800.