If you have a judgment against you, one of the things the judgment creditor can do to collect their money is garnish your bank accounts. This article will give you basic information from our Houston debt resolution attorneys about how bank account garnishments work in Texas and about what you can do to protect yourself if you are facing a garnishment.
You can only get a garnishment if you already have a judgment first
You can only get a bank account garnishment if you already have a judgment first. A bank account garnishment is one of the ways that a judgment creditor can collect on a judgment. So there has to be an existing judgment before a garnishment can come into play.
A garnishment is a new lawsuit, and it is filed against your bank, not you
A garnishment is a new lawsuit that is filed against your bank. So in the garnishment lawsuit, your bank, not you, is the “defendant,” and your bank, not you, gets served with the lawsuit and is required to answer it. You are not even a party to garnishment lawsuit, at least not at the outset, but you do have the right to “jump in” and try to get your accounts released.
Because you are not a party to the garnishment lawsuit, you are not notified when it is filed. You will only find out about the garnishment later, after your accounts have already been frozen.
Your bank is required to freeze your accounts when it receives the garnishment
Your bank is the defendant in the garnishment lawsuit. And like any other defendant, they get served with the lawsuit papers; in this case, the garnishment lawsuit papers. Your bank is required by law to freeze your accounts immediately when it is served with a garnishment lawsuit.
Technically, they only have to freeze enough money to cover the judgment. So if the judgment balance is $3000, and you have $10,000 in your account, then your bank will only freeze $3,000 out of the $10,000 that is in your account, and you will still have access to the other $7,000. If, on the other hand, the judgment amount is more than you have in the bank, then your bank will freeze all the money in your accounts, and you will not be able to withdraw any money at all.
You have the right to contest the garnishment
The money in your accounts belongs to you, so you have the right to contest the garnishment. There are some sources of funds, such as social security and child support that are not subject to garnishment at all. Similarly, garnishments involving joint accounts, where some or all of the money belongs to an innocent third party, or company accounts, where the funds belong to the company, not you, can often be defeated.
Also, in many cases, the garnishment paperwork is deficient. And if the garnishment paperwork is deficient, then you may be entitled to void the garnishment and get your money released back to you. Our debt collection attorney can help.
We have defeated many garnishments and gotten frozen bank accounts released back to our clients
We have successfully defeated many garnishments and gotten bank accounts that were frozen released back to our clients. In some cases, where our clients were never properly served with the underlying lawsuit when it was filed, we even got the got the judgments released and got the creditors to pay our clients money for wrongfully garnishing their accounts in the first place.
Get a free consultation
Give us a call at 844.334.4566 or fill out the contact form. We will review your garnishment for free and tell you what, if anything, we can do to help you. The consultation is completely free, and there is no obligation.