May 15, 2022

Bank Account Garnished? Here’s What To Do Now

​Imagine this: You’re on your way to do some errands at the grocery store. And while paying for your purchases, your debit card gets declined. You don’t think it won’t happen because you expected that your salary was already wired to it the other week. When you clarify your situation with your bank, you learn that you just got your bank account garnished by your creditor.

People, at some point, are compelled to borrow money for various reasons. And when you become unable to pay your outstanding debts, your creditors may take money out of your bank account. This is called garnishment. Bank account garnishments in Oregon happen a lot more often than you think. Legal experts advise people with garnished accounts to act as immediately as possible. This way, it will be possible for you to recover a portion — if not all — of the funds taken by your creditors.

Garnishment Starts With A Lawsuit

Also known as bank levies, garnishment commences with a lawsuit filed against you. Take note that a bank account garnishment can only take place when a court has determined that you indeed have a debt to pay, granting your creditor the right to collect that money. If you cannot pay off the debt, then the court may order the creditor to take money from your paycheck. In short, they must obtain a court judgment first.  If you’re in Oregon, it’s common to see judgment creditors collect outstanding payments through garnishing wages. They levy bank accounts and even place liens on your home and other real property.

What Is A Writ Of Garnishment

Before getting your bank account garnished, creditors must serve a Writ of Garnishment first before your bank. This legal document prompts your bank to freeze money in your account.
Typically, your bank will notify you once the levy is in place. Additionally, your creditor will also serve you with a Writ of Garnishment.

Filing A Claim Of Exemption

Upon receiving the Writ of Garnishment, you have 10 days to file a Claim of Exemption. It’s a legal document telling the court that the money in your account at the time of the levy is exempted from getting taken by your creditor.  To determine how much is indeed exempted, the court will hold a hearing. The exempted amount depends on specific statutory laws and other relevant rules. For instance, in Oregon, 75% of your disposable earnings are protected from being garnished. Under Oregon law, up to half of your disposable earnings may be also garnished to shoulder your unpaid domestic support obligations.

Seeking Legal Counsel To Stop Future Levies

How do you protect your money from bank account garnishment Oregon? One of the things that you can do is to put your income in a separate account — don’t commingle it with your spouse or children. This will help the court better determine exempted funds in the garnished bank account.  You also have to keep in mind that a judgment creditor can levy a bank all over again until you pay off all your outstanding debts. This is why it’s important to resolve your debt before even garnishment takes place. To identify the best course of action, seeking expert legal guidance is advised.