Wednesday, January 4, 2012, 08:38 PM
Posted by Administrator
If there is a judgment against you (not just a creditor threatening to sue or someone to whom you owe money), the judgment creditor (who has, I emphasize, already sued you and obtained a judgment) can get a Writ of Garnishment and seize your bank account, take your wages, or otherwise take money that you are owed. This is done behind your back. The judgment creditor doesn't have to tell you that they are going to take your bank account until they serve the Writ and the account is frozen. (If you knew beforehand, you'd take the money out...right?)

There are defenses to Garnishment....wages/head of household/$1,000 worth of car (if the Sheriff "executes" on your car...but you've got to assert the defenses. When you assert the defenses, a hearing gets scheduled. I went to a hearing on my client's "Claim Of Exemptions", this morning. I'd never been to a Claim of Exemptions hearing before.

Really, the creditor's lawyer was quite nice (uncommon among lawyers these days, myself included). Once my client testified that he provided more than 50% of his family's support...because he earned more than his wife; that most of the money in the seized account came from a recent bonus (which Florida law considers exempt wages); and that a lot of the money in the bank account came from his wife's paycheck...and there was no judgment against her....he conceded that the Writ of Garnishment should be dissolved (and the money in the account returned to my client).

Here is the lesson I took away: Like most of lawyering---hearings on Claims of Exemption in Garnishment cases---NOT ROCKET SCIENCE.

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