At Cornerstone we often receive calls from consumers who find themselves the subject of garnishment. A “Writ of Garnishment” is an order by a court of law to take money or other things due to someone else.
There are many types of garnishment orders, but the most common result from past-due child support and alimony or result from the failure to pay a consumer debt. The latter type of garnishment is the type we handle at Cornerstone.
If a person borrows money or purchases items on credit and then fails to pay the creditor, that creditor may sue to obtain a judgment. The judgment itself isn’t very powerful; after all, it’s merely a piece of paper.
What is powerful are the tools under Florida law which allow that piece of paper to be converted to real money or assets. One of those tools is the writ of garnishment. In Florida, a creditor (usually a bank, credit union, or plaintiff in a previous lawsuit against you) can seize money owed which is in the debtor's bank account.
The garnishment process begins with the creditor asking a court to issue a writ. When the creditor files their motion for a writ, they do not send the debtor a copy. However, once the writ is issued, the creditor must take certain actions such as send the debtor a specific notice informing the debtor they might be exempt from this garnishment.
There are several exemptions that debtors may find applicable. For example, the funds in the account may be solely from the head of household’s wages. If a person is the head of household and meets certain conditions, a motion for claim of exemption can be filed with the court. Exemption claims seek the court's help in dissolving the writ of garnishment and putting the money back into the account.
Most often, the way people find out about the garnishment is logging into their bank account or trying to use their debit card which is declined. The garnishment laws in Florida are extremely detailed and require precise attention to detail. The timing of certain defenses is very important. If your bank account has been garnished do not delay. Call Cornerstone Law Firm today.