Legal Question in Credit and Debt Law in Michigan

I am a vietnam veteran who was wouned in action and I collect 20% due to schrapnel in my legs. I aslo currnently am on SSDi due to COPD. I am being sued over money owed to creditors. Can they get a judgement against me and take mony from my monthly checks. I make no other income and only have my disibilty deposited in my bank account. I really have no other assets other than a 20 year old car. Thank you for your help.

Asked on 4/14/12, 11:56 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Audra Arndt Audra A. Arndt & Associates, PLLC

A creditor will prevail and get a judgment against you unless you have a legal defense to their claim, i.e., it wasn't your card, you didn't make the charges, etc. Inability to repay the debt is not a valid defense. 21 days after a judgment is obtained, a creditor can begin its attempts to collect, such as by garnishing your state income tax refunds, paychecks, and bank accounts.

Any money becomes fair game to creditors once it is deposited into a bank account. Therefore, while an SS check itself is not subject to a garnishment, once deposited, the monies could be garnished. If a creditor garnished your bank account, you would only find out after the fact, and you would have to file a motion in court to have a hearing, wherein you would have to prove where the garnished monies came from, i.e., your SSDi check, and that you cannot afford to have it garnished (by showing your income and expenses), and hope that the court gave some or all of it back. Regardless, you would be out the money for at least a month.

The same is true for a joint bank account that was garnished - you'd have to prove that X portion of the monies that were garnished were not yours, and belonged to someone not subject to a garnishment, before the court would consider ordering that portion returned/refunded. Any bank account wherein your name appears as an account holder, whether individually or joint, is subject to garnishment by your creditors. It is always best to avoid these situations so you don't have to go to court and battle, and also be out the money for a while.

You may want to seriously consider bankruptcy, as it sounds like you'd qualify for a Ch 7 discharge (if you haven't had one in the past 8 years), and then you wouldn't have to worry about creditors and garnishments, as all of your debt would be fully discharged.

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Answered on 4/15/12, 4:45 pm

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