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Understanding options in the face of bank garnishment

Did you know that a creditor could possibly empty your bank account in seeking moneys that you owe them? Before you rush off to pull your money out and keep it safe, know that a creditor has to go through a lengthy legal process before it can take this action, which is known as a bank garnishment.

Before a creditor can garnish bank accounts, it must first usually receive a judgment against you. A judgment is a court order stating that you owe the money in question to the creditor. Before the judgment can be entered against you, the creditor has to file it through the court and you must be served with the judgment. This usually involves the creditor mailing you a copy and a sheriff's office employee serving you with a copy.

If you believe you don't owe the money, then the judgment hearing is the time to dispute it. If you do owe the money, then you might try to make arrangements to pay the creditor before the judgment hearing.

Once the judgment is entered, the creditor usually has to wait a certain amount of time and then can file a garnishment on any bank accounts you own. A hold will be put on your account and kept in place until a hearing in the matter.

If you are facing a judgment or have already had a judgment entered against you, you do have options even if you can't pay the debt. One of those options might be Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Filing for Chapter 7 puts an automatic stay in place, stopping any collection activity, including judgments and garnishments. To understand if you are eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, speak with a bankruptcy lawyer.

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