I learned yesterday morning from my bank that they had received a court order - garnishment of property for a debt I owe to another bank but is currently w/an attorney's office. They put a hold on my account, which means I have NO ACCESS to my paycheck that gets deposited into my checking account on a weekly basis. That is the ONLY income coming into my family, I have 4 young children and my husband was laid off 1 year ago. I was left w/out money. And the attorney's office is of no help right now, I didn't even get a copy of the court order. How can I reverse the garnishment of property? This is all the money I have to to for our family to get by until I get I paid again.
3 Answers from Attorneys
After a creditor gets a judgment against you, the law allows them to seize / garnish assets, including bank accounts. There is ordinarily no way to "reverse" a garnishment. However, Maryland law does allow exemptions to protect a modest amount of property/money -- an individual can usually exempt up to $6,000 worth of property from collection. Note that the exemption is not automatic and the defendant / judgment debtor needs to specifically file and ask for exemption.
The judgment creditor does not need to alert you until right after they serve the garnishment, so typically you would receive notice a few days after the bank. That notice will give you information on your rights to seek exemption.
While I hope the above helps, it doesn't constitute legal advice. The specific facts of your situation may affect how the law applies to you and you are encouraged to consult an attorney for a more detailed review of your situation.
Understand that while you can exempt that money, it does not free it up immediately, and will not stop future efforts to garnish your wages or property, You may want to consider filing for bankruptcy if you cannot pay this debt and still provide for your family. That should un-freeze the account reasonably quickly and prevent future garnishments.
go to your employer RIGHT AWAY and stop the direct deposit. Take hard copy checks until you get this sorted out. Call an attorney who is familiar with debt and bankruptcy issues ASAP.