What are the laws governing a debt collector’s ability to freeze your bank account under a civil judgement?

UPDATED: Sep 19, 2011

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What are the laws governing a debt collector’s ability to freeze your bank account under a civil judgement?

I have just had a civil default judgement filed against me. I am working to have it vacated. In the meantime, I am afraid of having my bank accounts frozen. Are they unable to freeze your account if it falls under a certain balance amount? What can I do to protect myself so I will have funds to live on?

Asked on September 19, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, New York


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If a default and a default judgment have been entered against you, the judgment creditor can then attempt to execute upon your assets to satisfy in part or in full the judgment. Typically a memorandum of costs is sent to the court for issuance as well as a notice of levy, writ of execution, memorandum of garnishee and sheriff's instructions.

The sheriff is then instructed to levy upon the judgment creditor's bank accounts or to do a wage garnishment.

When a levy is placed upon a judgment debtor's bank account the account is frozen for a certain time to allow the judgment debtor to file a claim of exemption to possibly stop the levy and loss of the money.

Most people in your situation either keep cash on hand, regularly change banks with their accounts or have friends hold their money pending a dispute with the judgment creditor.

Good luck setting aside the default judgment.

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