What To Do If Your Bank Account Is Garnished

When a creditor improperly garnishes a protected bank account, the debtor must get a court order dissolving the garnishment.

First, review the garnishment notice to understand the reason and legal basis for the garnishment. Determine whether the funds in your account are exempt from garnishment under state or federal law, such as Social Security benefits, unemployment payments, or other protected income.

Next, file a claim of exemption with the court that issued the garnishment order. You will need to provide evidence that the funds are exempt, and request that the court halt the garnishment.

Do not assume that the creditor knows you have exempt money in the account. For example, when the creditor sees an account in the debtor’s individual name, the creditor does not know that it may be a wage account.

Creditors that garnish joint accounts often do not know that the money may be exempt.

Not all accounts owned jointly with your spouse qualify for entireties accounts. For example, if a married couple does not put their names on the account at the same time, or if the current spouses first opened the account before they were married, the account technically is not a protected entireties account.

Florida law requires an expedited hearing to dissolve an improper garnishment.

Jon Alper

About the Author

I’m a nationally recognized attorney specializing in asset protection planning. I graduated with honors from the University of Florida Law School and have practiced law for almost 50 years.

I have been recognized as a legal expert by media outlets such as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. I have helped thousands of clients protect their assets from creditors.