What Can I Do If My Bank Account Has Been Garnished in Arizona?
With so many of our residents suffering from layoffs, reduced hours, or partial wages, it may already be difficult to pay your monthly expenses, as we are living in critically challenging financial times.
Suddenly, when checking your bank account balance, you notice there has been a significant debit from your balance, and you begin to panic. This must be a mistake. You contact the bank to learn that a creditor has removed funds directly from your bank account to recover an outstanding garnishment.
When this happens, your already compromised financial standing can become overwhelming.
We can help.
Our Tucson bankruptcy attorney, Eric Ollason, knows our state’s garnishment procedures are extremely complicated and are governed by Arizona laws. That means all parties involved must follow properly follow all collection policies, or risk being penalized for using unlawful debt collection practices.
When they do not, we may be able to recover some or all your funds.
Why Were My Bank Account Funds Garnished?
Most bank account garnishments in Arizona start with a lawsuit against you.
In that lawsuit, you were listed as the responsible party to pay the debt and granted the creditor the right to collect that money.
Typically, judgment creditors collect outstanding debts through wage garnishments, but our laws do allow for levying bank accounts and/or non-exempt property.
Before getting to that point, several actions must occur first.
- A Writ of Garnishment
To levy a bank account, the creditor must serve your bank with a legal document known as a Writ of Garnishment that was approved by the court.
Upon receipt, the bank freezes any money in your accounts in preparation to turn it over to the creditor.
Once the levy is in place, the bank will typically notify you, the account holder. During the same time, the creditor will serve the writ to you, stating they are moving forward with the bank levy.
Can I File a Claim of Exemption in Arizona to Get Some or All of My Money Back?
Our Pima County bankruptcy attorney can help you file a claim of exemption that states the funds that were in your account were exempt — or protected — from seizure.
Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, Veterans Affairs, and other funds may be protected from most creditors if you follow the guidance provided by our Tucson bankruptcy attorney.
The court will set a hearing date to determine which portion of the funds is exempt, or if the legal process was violated at any time during the garnishment, which may allow us to get some or all of the funds back into your account.
Alternatively, you may have a chance at getting some or all of them back if you file bankruptcy before the funds have been transferred to the judgment creditor,
Will the Creditor Continue to Garnish My Bank Account?
In the State of Arizona, a bank levy occurs one time per writ, and the protection for bank accounts provides that only $150, or $300 for married couples, is exempt from the removal process.
Simply put, if you are a single person who has a Writ of Garnishment for $1800, and your bank account has a $1500 balance, the creditor may take $1350, while leaving a $450 balance that will still need to be collected.
The levy is only effective for the funds that are available when the writ is served on the bank.
However, a judgment creditor may levy the bank again and again in the future, until the debt is fully resolved.
How Can I Stop Arizona Wage or Bank Account Garnishments?
If you have questions about your debts and have been served a Writ of Garnishment by a creditor, contact our Tucson, Arizona bankruptcy attorney, Eric Ollason, today by calling (520) 791-2707 or (520) 389-5241 to discuss your case during a free consultation.
We will outline the best legal course of action for your financial needs, which may include:
- Stopping garnishments and creditor harassment
- Halting foreclosures and vehicle repossessions
- Chapter 7 bankruptcy
- Chapter 13 bankruptcy
You do not have to face your creditors alone or absorb the overwhelming stress of having your wages or bank account garnished. Our Tucson bankruptcy attorney will provide customized solutions for your unique financial needs, so you can get back on track.
Call us now to learn more.