Judgments and taking money from checking accounts

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 05/30/2008 - 03:36

Hello, I have a few questions on judgments. First, how many times can someone take money from your checking account when a judgment has been filed against you, and is there a limit they can take? Also, if a judgment is to be filed against you, aren't you supposed to be served in person to at least sign that you have seen the summons?

Last year in November I received a letter from my family that got sent to their house (They live in RI, I live in MO). That letter was a summons to appear in court in RI. I got the letter 2 days after the court date and so needless to say I didn't go to court and the judgment was accepted by the courts (I couldn't have gone to court anyway seeing as I live in MO now and have been for 10 years). Not soon after they took all the money from my checking account and savings. I called them after seeing this and to make a long story short I gave them my current address and phone number and they told me that the person handling my case was on vacation and would get back to me.

Now six months later and no further communication between them and I (I told my family to return to sender any further mail from them as they have my current info and can mail me or call me if they wish). This week I saw that they took all my money out of my account again. Almost 6 months to the day of the fist garnishment.

Anyway, can anyone help me with my questions? Any help would be greatly appreciated. I don't have the money to grab a lawyer and they seem unwilling to make payment arrangements.


PS. To clear something up, I have never lived at the address that they were sending the letters to. I did live in RI, but that was nearly 10 years ago.

I believe alot of people did not make the choice ot be in the situation they are in. When people lose jobs or hours are cut some have no other choice but to rely on credit cards to put food on the table and other things. We were almost completely out of debt until my hubby got his hours cut down to where we were barely surviving. Of course this is when the truck decides to act up costing a load for repairs and of course the car was soon to follow afterwards...its like when your down it all starts.

Sun, 10/18/2009 - 22:15 Permalink
Fired up (not verified)

Went to court in August 2009, admitted that I owed the money. was told by the judge they could garnish 10% of my wages. Never told they could garnish my checking account. Any ways this week the bank calls and tells me my checking account has been garnished. How is this legal. I know I owe this money but how can they take everything you've got and leave you with nothing. What about your other bills?

Wed, 10/28/2009 - 16:12 Permalink
Ken Saunders (not verified)

I went to use my debit card today and was declined with more then the $33.00 sale. I called the bank and they said that both my checking accounts were garnished. I asked who and why and they had no answer. Who are these companys and how can they do this, and how do I get it stopped ASAP.

Tue, 11/24/2009 - 01:59 Permalink
Grandpa on S.S. (not verified)

I couldnt use my debit card today for a small purchase. I called the bank as there are sufficient funds to cover this.
I was told that my accounts were garnished. no one at the bank knew who this was, Help, What do??.

Tue, 11/24/2009 - 02:05 Permalink
megan (not verified)

can you file bankruptcy even after your checking account was wiped out

Mon, 12/07/2009 - 16:16 Permalink

It is my understanding that you can file bankruptcy anytime, you will have to contact an attorney to get it started. Your bank account really has nothing to do with weather you can file for bankruptcy or not.

Mon, 12/07/2009 - 17:45 Permalink
elle (not verified)

Can they garnish my husband's Veteran's Benefit? Also he works for the federal goverment. Is it legal to garnish federal govt wages?

Wed, 12/09/2009 - 03:18 Permalink
pilkerton21 (not verified)

My boyfriend just had a credit card garnish his checking account. This is going to cause other payments to bounce. If he takes money to the bank to cover the remaining balance so it doesn't bounce will the garnishment take that too before it's applied to the other bills?

Tue, 01/05/2010 - 15:55 Permalink
rav (not verified)

I know it is a must to have a checking account, and Visa, MC logo on a debit card.
If you are in financial trouble, and are being sued by creditors, you must keep your own boat from sinking.
We filed Bankruptcy, and are afforded protection, but that did not stop American Express from garnishing our checking account. They did have to dissolve the garnishment, but that took 10 days, that is ten days of not being able to pay your bills, and not having access to your debit card.
If you are in trouble with creditors I can tell you what we have done:
1. Realize how many attorneys are advertising on television to sue. They are broke as well, and have access to our legal system. YOU AS A NON-ATTORNEY, AND BROKE CITIZEN DO NOT HAVE THIS ACCESS!
2. Go to your local clerk of courts, and insure that garnishments do not include basic living expenses. Judges will do this. You only have to appear, and don’t need a lawyer. If you are this broke, you can’t afford one anyway.
3. Do not trust commercial banks. Close accounts at Wells, Wachovia, Chase, and the others.
a. These banks have their different division of labor located in different states. The legal departments may be farmed out to local attorneys.
b. Broke and poor folks do NOT want to deal with this.
4. Open a small account at a local credit union, and keep only the minimum in that account.
5. Remember how poor you are. You are an easy mark to credit attorneys, and they will slaughter you like an animal.
6. These are tough times.
a. Stop listening to others, and trust your own animal instincts.
b. You are poor and are not afforded the same access to the systems as others.
c. It’s not fair but it is true.
d. Good luck, and CYOA.

Wed, 01/06/2010 - 14:58 Permalink

wow what a strong post but all so true, I totally agree, I am not real sure how these companies can just go in and raid your checking account and how the heck did they get the account number in the first place. That boggles my mind how they have access to this information. You would think the banks would contact you if an unfamiliar entity was trying to take funds out of your account right. But too many times they don't until it is too late. There should be a way for them to have to verify authorization before they can access your accounts.

Wed, 01/06/2010 - 18:11 Permalink
NORMA (not verified)


Mon, 01/25/2010 - 16:19 Permalink
KB (not verified)


Tue, 02/09/2010 - 22:41 Permalink

Hi KB,

As far as I understand from your post, the court date is in March. That means that the company has not yet got a judgment against you, right? A company cannot garnish your account, without a court order.

Therefore, you can report this in the court on the day of the court order. You may also contact a lawyer regarding this.

Thu, 02/11/2010 - 07:16 Permalink
shocked (not verified)

I have had my back checking and my sons savings account frozen due to credit debt. Five years have passed is it safe to open another account at a different bank? I do not work I am a full- time student.

Wed, 02/24/2010 - 01:38 Permalink

Hi shocked,

If only you and your son had recurred the debt together, can both of your accounts be frozen. What you can do is, pull your credit report and check the status of this account. As 5 years have passed, the negative impact of the negative item has lessened. You can open a new account with a new bank, but the bank that froze your account should not come to know about your new account.

However, whether or not your new account will get frozen depends on your debt. If you still owe any money to the bank, they may try to find out your other accounts and freeze it by court order. If possible, you can try to pay off the debt.

You can open a savings account and put money into it for months. After you save a considerable amount of money into it, you can use it to pay off this debt and other debts too. This also helps in improvement of the credit score.

Hope this helps.

Thu, 02/25/2010 - 10:26 Permalink
Charlotte (not verified)

I am retired and have been unable to get a job. I have accumulated a lot of credit card debt and cannot pay it. My only income is Social Security and this enables me to pay my mortgage and car payment and pay my other essential bills (such as water, electricity, food). Can the credit card companies/collection agencies go into my checking account and take my Social Security money. What remedies do you suggest to prevent this.

Mon, 03/15/2010 - 17:09 Permalink

Hi Charlotte,

Under the Federal Law, social security cannot be garnished. However, it may vary according to the state laws. Thus, you can check your state laws on garnishment. Generally speaking, if you can prove that all your money comes from social security, they may not be able to garnish your account.

Hope this helps.



Tue, 03/16/2010 - 09:17 Permalink
Sandy Starmer (not verified)

My husband and I were sued today by American Express, we tried to work with them but nothing. We went with the debt answer and pay 446.61 every mouth and they work with the creditors. A/E would not. They won, if they garnish my husbands wage is the 25% after taxes? All of our monies go into one bank account ss, child support wages do I need to close our accounts now? Does A/E have to notify us after going threw the court to get a wage assignment and levee against our account? Please help

Tue, 03/23/2010 - 05:55 Permalink

Hi Sandy,

How much they can garnish depends on the state laws on garnishment and how much you owe and the interest rates. So, you need to check your state laws. Social security benefit cannot be garnished. However, you can open a new account and deposit the social security into it. For that account you need to prove that your money comes from social security only. Then the collection agency may not be able to garnish that account. In some states child support payment cannot be garnished too. Thus, you need to check this to according to your state laws.

As the collection agency has already won the judgment, they may not serve you any notice before starting the garnishments.

Hope this helps.



Tue, 03/23/2010 - 06:43 Permalink
Jenn (not verified)

Can a creditor take money out of an account that I am not a primary accout holder on? It is a joint checking account. My husband is employed by the govt. and I am currently unemployed due to his military pcs. We have 3 kids and we are barely making it because we still have to pay our other bills. My husband, being in the military, has to pay his bills or he can get into some serious trouble. So unfortunately for me, his bills come first. These debts are not in his name. They are in mine.

Wed, 04/21/2010 - 18:45 Permalink

Hi Jenn,

Yes, a creditor can take out money from a joint account even if you are not the primary account holder. As you owe the debt, and your name is on the account, they will take money from that account. Thus, you need to remove your name from that joint account.



Thu, 04/22/2010 - 12:28 Permalink
Ana (not verified)

how much can a student loan garnishment take from your bank account if your only income is monthly social security check

Tue, 05/04/2010 - 12:22 Permalink
Jason4525 (not verified)

There is a temporary solution for future bank levies.
A judgment has to be entered against you in your name in court, in order for another party to get into your bank account (the exception is the IRS, they can do what they want without anyone's permission!)
The account being levied has to be in the name or jointly in the name that is on the judgment. But get this--apparently they can't levy the bank account of yours if it is in a business name (even with the same SS#). So if the judgment is against "Jim Jones" they apparently can't get into an account that Jim owns under Ready Roofing Company.
My wife & I had a creditor wipe out our bank account a few months ago. Once we learned of this we closed the accounts in our name but left my business accounts open. The creditor even told me they could not legally act against the business account because the judgment isn't against the business. I asked an attorney about this & he agreed. He said he couldn't 100% guarantee it, but that the sheriff would likely never approve a bank levy if the name on the account was different than the name on the judgment.
This is really good news.
So, I'm not suggesting you run out & start a small business & get a new bank account in a business name, but it apparently does afford some protection against these things. You should ask an attorney & do some checking around in YOUR OWN STATE to see what the laws are about these things, but for now it appears to be working for me in my home state. This buys me time to regroup & eventually pay these people off on my terms, not theirs through surprise levys.

Sat, 05/15/2010 - 09:01 Permalink
Robert E Rome (not verified)

Does Social Security have a checking account sistem just like the banks with debet cards safe from dept collectors colectors

Mon, 06/14/2010 - 14:35 Permalink

Hi Robert E Rome,

Social Security itself cannot be garnished. According to the Federal Law Social Security benefits cannot be garnished for credit card debts. However, it may get garnished for child support, and alimony.

You will have to declare this to the bank that all your money comes from Social Security, and also to the credit card company.



Tue, 06/15/2010 - 11:53 Permalink
RB (not verified)

I owe chase credit card on 2 seperate cards.
They did file a judgement on 1 and I believe the
other one is in the hands of an attorney.
I am self emplyeed and do not get a pay check.
My business has been suffering over the last
1 to 2 years which is why i stopped paying by
debt. My question is, In the state of Fl can they
garnish or freeze my checking account which has
both my name and my husbands name on it.
Thanks for any help

Wed, 06/16/2010 - 13:36 Permalink

Hi RB,

If you aren't self employed, still the creditors can freeze your checking account in Florida. However, as far as I know, in Florida you can exempt up-to $1000 of your property. That means you can exempt your checking account too. Still, you can check the garnishment, and exemption laws in your state. The laws can be different for joint checking accounts.



Fri, 06/18/2010 - 12:02 Permalink
Nicky (not verified)

My atty just told me that you cannot 'create' a business just to avoid other debt collection...but, if you have a legitimate business and it falls that way its ok.

Be really careful about paying an old bill off especially if its alot of money and you are hard pressed for money. Make sure to check the statute of limitations for your state- Ie: say you havent been able to pay a bill for 2 years and the statute of limitations for your state is 4 years. If you ride it out the debt may close in the 2 years. BUT, if you make a payment, the creditors will look at that as day one of the debt and it will be 4 years starting all over again.

Wed, 06/23/2010 - 11:08 Permalink
Sheila M. (not verified)

If I add a person to my bank account and they have a judgement can they take my money? I liveb in Maryland.

Wed, 07/28/2010 - 03:25 Permalink

Hi Sheila,

Yes, if you add a person's name to your bank account who has a judgment against him, that account can get garnished too.



Wed, 07/28/2010 - 08:53 Permalink
crusial (not verified)

My social security funds in my bank account was frozen. I asked my bank to put my money back into my account as it is being held at this point. The bank says it can't do that though I was told that my social security money can't be frozen. I have no back taxes or child alimony as our children are grown. What do I do to get my money returned to my account? This account is used for my social security deposits and it is labeled as plain as day. I don't understand why the bank allowed this account to be frozen.


Wed, 08/11/2010 - 20:39 Permalink

Hi crusial,

I think you should get help from the State Attorney General. The bank is not allowed to do this.



Thu, 08/12/2010 - 12:04 Permalink
Ellie (not verified)

I have a judement on my savings account. I have set up a payment arrangement with Law Firm. It has been over 6 months and Now the Law Firm is either out of buisness or they changed.
I can get any info and the Judgement is still on my account.
What can be done. I can not get ahold of anyone.

Thu, 08/12/2010 - 14:40 Permalink

Hi Ellie,

If this lawfirm was representing your original creditor or a collection agency you will have to contact them directly.



Fri, 08/13/2010 - 09:58 Permalink
Cryrael (not verified)

To answer the question of them taking out your money, I don't know how it's legal, however, my mother was in a credit counseling and they told her they would speak to the people she owed and distribute her money for her to pay her debts. They failed to pay a few of those creditors for her and sadly, they took every penny she had in her checking and savings, and also my father's accounts as well. Since a court approved this, I guess it is ok for them. My question is, how do they expect people to live (especially retired, with only retirement checks coming in) when they take every bit of their money? What is wrong with the system? Do they want everyone living on the streets?

Wed, 08/18/2010 - 22:17 Permalink

Hi Cryrael,

Retirement checks are not garnishable. Did not your mother and father show proof in court that their income was from retirement? Can I know the type of the debt their retirement checks were garnished for?



Thu, 08/19/2010 - 10:02 Permalink
Ellie (not verified)

My daughter had 3 paychecks garnished and then her checking account. She was in the process of filing bankruptcy and the school was included in the bankruptcy. She had her hearing and received her final notice from bankruptcy court. Her attorney and his staff are dragging their feet on getting the money back from the opposing attorney for the amount they received. What is illegal? How long should this take to receive her money back. Is this something my daughter should be handling in lieu of her attorney who seems to be doing nothing?

Wed, 10/20/2010 - 18:52 Permalink
nodl001 (not verified)

american express froze my wifes account which I am on and her check gets direct deposit. she is not on my american express they have frozen my kids savings accounts which i am on as well??????

Wed, 03/09/2011 - 02:56 Permalink
www.creditmagic.org (not verified)

Garnishing checking account 5.. WTF? :)

Sat, 03/26/2011 - 15:07 Permalink

For the common good? In a rare case of voluntary customer protection in the financial industry, Citi declared that it will change the way it clears checks in order to minimize overdraft protection charges. Financial reform restricts banks from providing over-limit protection for debit cards unless customers opt in, but the rules do not apply to checking accounts. Citi is checking itself from charging repeat over-limit fees simply by letting smaller checks clear before a larger one sends the account into negative territory. I read this here:Citi to give customers a break by clearing smallest checks first

Thu, 04/07/2011 - 09:24 Permalink
terfri2@yahoo.com (not verified)

Is State Adoption Subsidy exempt from garnishment or set-off in Michigan?

Tue, 04/12/2011 - 12:27 Permalink

I think they need something more than a judgement to do levy your bank accounts!

Wed, 04/27/2011 - 23:32 Permalink
sissie (not verified)

My son lives in Nevada and has a corporate account he opened in California... he has back interest owed on child support (case has been closed) and California took ALL the money from his corporate acct... can they do that?

Thu, 06/09/2011 - 19:34 Permalink
lady b (not verified)

We took out a loan and started paying it back...during the time that we were paying it back, I had a car accident and it totaled my car. The person who hit me did not have a drivers license and was intoxicated. Needless to say, his insurance drug their feet in supplying funds for me to get a new vehicle...so my insurance gave me a check for my car and said to buy another vehicle that was compriable to the one I had....not possible with the money they gave me, so I had to take out another car loan (we were already paying on one...so now we have 2). I could not pay 2 car payments and a loan payment and a house payment......so the loan was turned over by the bank to an attorney....to make a long story short...they have issued a judgement of default and seized our checking account...drained it dry....can they drain it 100%everytime our check goes in? The bank has frozen the account for 1 year....Is there an amount that they can take each time...we need some money for living expenses.

Mon, 07/04/2011 - 18:50 Permalink
cheryl (not verified)

hold put on my husband and i checking account since july 1st-both he and i checks are deposted into the account-his is gm pension mine is from my job-we have both put in a request to have our checks stopped being desposted into the account and have them mailed instead-wont that stop the problem and arent gm pensions expempt from being ganished?

Mon, 07/11/2011 - 19:30 Permalink
jenn (not verified)

Heyy I had a question for everyone. I just opened a joint checking account with my husband today and he has no debt but I owe credit cards; hospitals; lawyers and have 3 judgments on me. Because the account is in both names and my husband is the Primary and works (meaning all the money is actually his) can any collector etc. still take it for my debt?

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 19:22 Permalink
kj (not verified)

If I have a garnishment can they take the fund from a checking account I'm listed on. MI

Fri, 08/12/2011 - 01:07 Permalink