I get frequent calls from people whose checking accounts have been improperly garnished by creditors. Sometimes a individual debtor has an account owned jointly with his spouse as tenants by entireties which account is exempt from creditors of either individual spouse. In other cases, a caller states that the account contains wages and that he is head of household. This money, too, is exempt. Some creditors do not know your bank account has exempt money. For example, when the creditor sees an account in the debtor’s individual name the creditor does not know ( or does not want to know) that it’s a wage account. Creditors that garnish joint accounts often do not know (or do not care) that the money may be exempt. Remember, not all accounts owned jointly with your spouse qualify for entireties accounts; there are exceptions. For example, if husband and wife do 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. When a creditor improperly garnishes a protected bank account it is up to the debtor to get a court order dissolving the garnishment.

Florida law provides that a debtor have an expedited hearing to dissolve an improper garnishment. I do not generally practice litigation, and therefore, I do not assist people who need to file a motion to dissolve a garnishment. Most times, when someone asks me for help to relieve them from an improper garnishment of their checking accounts I recommend a man named Larry Kosto, Esq. with the firm of Kosto and Rotella. (407-425-3456). Larry works mostly for creditors trying to collect money from people; he is one of most experienced and aggressive collection attorneys I know. If you want to defend a garnishment or any other collection in court I suggest you hire someone who works for the other side.

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.

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