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When a creditor receives a judgment against you, it can enforce the judgment in one of three ways: 1) garnish your wages; 2) levy your bank accounts; 3) attach a lien to your property. Below is a description of the process (and what can be done about it):
To begin with, a creditor cannot just decide one day to garnish your wages. It must follow the necessary procedures laid out by the court. The creditor must file a breach of contract action against you, they must serve you with a summons, there must be a hearing on the matter, and the court must rule in the creditor’s favor.
Once the creditor has this judgment in hand, it may enforce the order in one of the three ways listed above. The primary method the creditor would employ to enforce would be to attach a garnishment to your wages. This is done by way of a Writ of Garnishment that is filed with the court. This Writ is then served upon your employer (usually to the payroll department). Your employer will have no choice but to begin deducting 25% of your net earnings (or 10% if you claim Head-of-Household status).
The second thing that the creditor can do (and sometimes they will do this in tandem with the wage garnishment) is to place a levy upon your banking accounts (like a checking or savings). This is basically a freeze that the bank puts on your checking account that renders it unusable. In other words, once the levy goes into effect, you cannot withdraw any funds from the account. The creditor will be eager to do this because you could have a lot of money in your account that the bank has to send out. But the bank will also send you out a notice about the levy. On this notice will be the “Return Date”. The return date is an actual calendar date sometime in the future (usually about 30-40 days out). If you take some action before the return date (like file for bankruptcy), then the bank has to ‘return’ the funds to you.
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The third (and least likely) thing a creditor can do with a judgement in hand is to place a lien against your property (usually real estate). Once the lien is attached, then this debt will have to be satisfied if you ever try to sell the property. But the reason why the lien option is the least likely to be exercised is because you could end up living in your house forever (and the creditor would get no funds).
But all of the above measures taken by a judgement-creditor can be handled by filing a St Louis bankruptcy!! Our team is ready to help you through the process, answer all of your questions, and explain your full range of options!
The affordable St. Louis bankruptcy attorneys at The Law Office of Jennifer Alter-Rieken have been saving and protecting people’s assets for years. Our goal is to make sure that you keep the assets and property you want, discharge the debts that you want to get rid of, and do it all at an affordable cost to you. All phone conversations and office consultations are free of charge.