During the preconstruction boom in 2005-2007 I bought and sold a few homes. however the market crashed and I walked away from a few investment homes. One was a preconstruction that the builder never even completed. There were several on going issues from the start. I think after about 6-7 months the mortgage payments stopped during preconstruction and I let the mortgage go into default status. Now the bank is garnishing wages. I bought it as a primary home I know and believe you can not garnish. A judge in Highlands County signed off on the garnishment. I reside in Broward County. Judgement is 203K plus interest but also I know the loan was never fully funded since construction stopped. At best guess, I say $75K max funded on loan but they seeking full amount.
What can I do?
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorney
It is unlikely you can do anything about the judgment. See a local BK attorney. Any amount held by your employer for the benefit of the creditor will be paid to them. An experience lawyer can advise if you qualify for a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13.
2 lawyers agree
Somewhere out there in Highlands County a judge entered a Final Judgment entered against you. If you were unaware of the judgment, you may be able to have it set aside. Acting promptly is important, because you must show due diligence--that you acted quickly and expeditiously to take set it right.
Garnishment is permitted in Florida. If you are the head of a family, which means providing >50% of support for a child or other dependent, your wages are exempt [protected] from garnishment but it is up to you to timely make a claim of exemption for it. Where you reside is not the issue. If you were sued in Highlands County and a judgment was entered in Highlands County the Writ of Garnishment would issue from there also. Since this was a business debt and not a personal debt primarily for personal, family or household purpose, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act does not apply.
As indicated above, you need to jump on this to see if the judgment can be set aside.
If not, then perhaps a personal bankruptcy would work for you.
Another option is to assert fraud upon the court if indeed you can show that the amount owed was $5k and not $203k, but you have a 1-year window from the date of entry of the judgment to do that, so again, time is of the essence.
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7 lawyers agree
There may be grounds to stop the garnishment, but you're going to need a lawyer. Don't procrastinate. Time is not on your side. Good luck.
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4 lawyers agree
Estate Planning Attorney
You need to IMMEDIATELY hire an attorney!! I read your comments on Attorney Lampert's answer to you - DO NOT CALL THE ATTORNEY ON FILE! He/she does NOT represent your interests at all and any information you give him/her will be, potentially, used against you. You need to hire your own attorney who can sort out what happened and advise you as to your remedies and rights in this matter. Most of the information on your intent for the home is rather immaterial since you never actually occupied the home, but there still are other avenues available, particularly if you were never served.
My answer is of a general nature and should not be construed to be legal advice nor creating an attorney-client relationship. Carol Johnson Law Firm, P.A. practices in the area of Wills, Trusts, and Estates, Disability - with a particular focus on providing Special Needs Trusts for disabled children and adults.
6 lawyers agree
Real Estate Attorney
The only way to garnish wages, is as a result of a final judgment against you. That means, that at some point in time, a lawsuit was filed against you, you either did not reply and were defaulted or some other disposition was had, wherein you lost the case. Now, they are trying to collect on that judgment. There are many exemptions that can be filed in garnishments, for example head of household, etc. and then the judge will request a hearing to determine if you are exempt. But garnishment is just one means to collect. The bank can levy assets, take away a car if paid in full, freeze your bank accounts, intervene on a federal tax refund. So your best bet may be to either try and settle the debt with them for pennies on the dollar or you may have to file for bankruptcy. Good luck.
4 lawyers agree
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Attorney
Setting aside the judgment is an option that you should consider. However you mentioned that you walked away from other properties so other lawsuits may be coming your way. Therefore I recommend you consult a bankruptcy attorney as soon as possible.
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3 lawyers agree