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Tuesday, September 4,2012

Legal Insight

By Scott J. Topolski  

Q: I have a rather substantial judgment against a former business associate, and I would, of course, like to collect on that judgment. I do know where this former business associate banks in that I have a number of accounts at that same bank. Can I potentially reach his bank account or accounts there to help satisfy my judgment?

A: Yes, you can. The procedure is known as a garnishment. There are two primary forms of garnishment. One is a continuing wage garnishment, where a creditor seeks to satisfy his judgment from ongoing, i.e. continuing wages being paid to the debtor. The second form of garnishment is a bank account garnishment. That is the type of garnishment you are referring to. The process is fairly simple. You would file a motion for a writ of garnishment, directed to the bank in question, and without notice to the debtor. At the time the motion is filed, you would also provide a proposed writ of garnishment to the court. After the clerk signs that writ, it is served on the bank in question. Service of the writ essentially freezes the accounts belonging to the debtor. Once the writ is served, at that point the debtor would be notified of the garnishment. There are very strict notice requirements. The bank has 20 days from service of the writ to answer and advise you if it is, indeed, holding any monies belonging to the defendant in an account or accounts. The debtor also has a right to request that the court dissolve the garnishment although grounds to dissolve must in fact exist.


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