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Bank Garnishment Florida

Your defense against Florida bank garnishment.

Bank Garnishment

Has your bank account been frozen?

If a judgment has previously been entered against you, a creditor can freeze (a.k.a. garnish or levy) your bank account to ask the court for the money in your account to pay off the judgment. The bank will freeze your account and keep it frozen until the court determines whether the money can rightfully be paid to your creditor or if it is protected by an exemption and shall be returned to you. However, this can only occur once a judgment has been entered against you.

This is another reason why you must immediately deal with a lawsuit once you are served so that it doesn’t result in a bank garnishment which can freeze the money that you were going to use for rent, food, medicine or Christmas gifts. As a former collection attorney who was responsible for the garnishment department, I used to get heartbreaking phone calls on a weekly basis where someone just forgot to take care of their lawsuit and now they were facing a real crisis. These calls came in many forms, such as when a creditor has a judgment against a joint account holder, where they freeze the entire joint bank account until there is a determination whose money is in the account. This frequently occurs with spouses, partners, elderly individuals and their adult children or caregivers, parents who are on their college-aged children’s accounts or parents who open a savings account for their minor child. If you don’t immediately and properly object to the garnishment, the creditor will without thought take all the money from your account including your child’s or elderly parent’s savings.

If your bank account has been frozen, you need to immediately call our office to speak with a debt collection defense attorney. We will find out whether the judgment was properly entered, whether the garnishment was legal and whether you have any exemptions that would protect your money in the bank account. For example, if you were never served with the lawsuit and you first found out about it when your bank account was frozen, you likely have a strong case to removing the judgment entirely. If the judgment and garnishment were properly entered, some or all of the money may be exempt and returned to you, or I can help you settle the judgment in its entirety. You need to get professional and experienced debt collection defense attorney to effectively handle this and any other threatening creditors that you may be dealing with.

How much can my bank account be garnished in Florida?

In Florida, certain funds in your bank account are protected from creditors and debt collectors. Funds that may be exempt from a debt collection bank garnishment or levy include:

  • Public Assistance
  • Social Security
  • SSI
  • Veterans’ benefits
  • Child Support
  • Spousal Support
  • Worker’s Compensation
  • Unemployment Insurance
  • Railroad Retirement benefits
  • Public and Private Pensions
  • Retirement Saving Accounts such as 401(k), 403(b), and Individual Retirement Accounts
  • Pre-paid College Plans

Other funds may also be exempt from garnishment, such as your paycheck that is deposited into your account as long as you are the head of household and certain conditions are met. You may also have an exemption if you have a joint account and the judgment is only against one account-holder. Florida also allows up to a $4,000 personal property exemption and $1,000 exemption on the value of your vehicle. If the funds in an account are exempt from debt collection, you only have 20 days to file your exemption to release the money. If the court grants your exemption, a creditor must release the hold on the account regardless of whether there is a judgment against you. You may need to provide proof that the income in the account is exempt, although bank statements from the past three months will usually suffice as proof.

Get help with bank garnishment.

Contact

Law Offices of Joseph I Harrison

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  • Protection from debt collection harassment.
  • Defense for pending lawsuit or garnishment.
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