My 28 year old niece married last year. Prior to her marriage, she had a judgment entered for a debt she owed. She will be working with a financial counselor to make payments on the judgment and reduce the principle. In the meantime, she's frightened to put her paycheck and tips in her bank account, thinking that the creditor can seize funds in her bank account. Can that occur - or does only the IRS/Franchise Tax Board have access to bank account funds? If she puts funds in her husband's bank checking account, and she's a co-signor on the account - or in her minor child's savings account, can those accounts be tapped?
Many states allow a creditor to levy or garnish a bank account once the creditor has a judgment. If she is on the bank account, the creditor may pursue the funds. However, if she is employed it is more likely that a creditor with a judgment will garnish her paycheck.
When a creditor has a court judgment, they have a wide range of ways they can forcibly take money to collect from someone. Garnishing wages, seizing a bank account & filing a lien on any real estate are the most obvious methods used.
What raises a red flag to me is that you say your niece was recently married. If her new spouse added her name to his bank account or the title to his real estate, even if she thinks these assets "aren't really hers," guess what? The creditor can seize or place a lien on these joint assets & in the case of a bank account, take 100% of the money.
Hope this perspective helps!
If her name is on an account, the creditor can levy on it. Her name should be taken off the children's accounts and off of her husband's account. The best protection is for her to keep her money in cash. When she gets her paycheck, cash it for cash. I suggest that she consult a lawyer, not a "financial counselor" to resolve the judgment. A half hour consultation will be well worth the cost.
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