Here’s a hypothetical that’s just about assured to induce cold sweat for any Texas resident considering it.
You’re relaxing at home, attending to some personal budget matters. In perusing your bank statement online, you suddenly notice with due alarm that its entries seem strongly out of whack. Checks aren’t clearing. Your account seems frozen.
And then the mail arrives, with one official document informing you that, indeed, the bank has frozen your account pursuant to a garnishment order from a state court.
Do you think a scenario that plays out like that might be just a bit frightening?
It routinely is for people across the country, many who hear the term “garnishment” for the first time only after their savings and checking accounts are already frozen and they confront the stark reality suddenly facing them.
For any person facing such a dilemma, it is probably a good idea to first do what seems to work equally well under many other stressful circumstances: Take a deep breath.
And then engage in some investigatory work and a proactive response.
It is immediately assuring to stressed consumers in many instances to note that not all money flowing into personal accounts is automatically subject to garnishment.
That bears checking out. It means that many federal and state benefits cannot be legally frozen. Those include things like Social Security and veterans’ benefits, disability-related monies, Supplemental Security Income and federal retirement benefits. The list of exempt assets is actually quite lengthy, meriting immediate scrutiny.
A garnishment order can obviously bring materially adverse effects and wreak havoc in a person’s life. That is duly noted in a Federal Trade Commission-authored primer on the subject.
In discussing the matter, the FTC advises any person who receives a notice of garnishment and has suffered a frozen account with exempt assets to “seek the assistance of an attorney at once.”
That makes eminent sense. An experienced debt relief attorney knows the garnishment process well and can fully protect the legal rights and interests of a consumer who has received a garnishment order.