If a lawsuit ends in a judgment for the plaintiff, the defendant owes money. If the defendant doesn’t pay the judgment, the plaintiff may take the money. A plaintiff has options to take the money from the defendant: bank and wage garnishment.

What is a Bank Garnishment?

A bank garnishment occurs when a person’s account is seized, or frozen. The plaintiff, considered a creditor, attempts to take the money in the defendant’s account to cover the debt. The defendant can’t withdraw or deposit money or write checks. Direct deposits are also taken by the creditor. In some instances, the account remains frozen until the creditor has recovered the entire debt.

How is a Wage Garnishment Different?

With a wage garnishment, the creditor deducts money from your paycheck. Approximately 25 percent of a person’s paycheck can be turned over to the creditor until the debt is satisfied. The deduction is made after all taxes are subtracted from the check.

Is My Overtime Pay Safe From My Creditor?

No. The amount will be deducted from the total sum of the check. Thus, a person may have a portion of overtime pay taken and given to the creditor. A bank garnishment is different. Some money deposited in the bank is off limits like:

  • Retirement
  • Pension pay
  • Government benefits
  • Child support payments
  • Money from student loans
  • Unemployment insurance claims

Whether overtime would be seized through a bank garnishment depends on your state’s laws.

Can I Get My Money Back From a Bank Account Garnishment?

Yes, it depends on the type of money and state law. For instance, if a creditor freezes a bank account with government payments deposited, the defendant can make sure exempted money isn’t frozen too by showing:

  • Payment stubs
  • Statements from government agencies
  • Receipts

Do I Need a Lawyer to Help Me With My Garnishment?

Yes, a bankruptcy lawyer will help you fight or avoid any type of wage or bank garnishment.