Can my bank account be garnished before my garnishment hearing?

UPDATED: May 6, 2011

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Can my bank account be garnished before my garnishment hearing?

Unknown to me, a creditor filed 2 civil suits against me in 10/07. I never received a summons (from the courts or attorneys), or letters (certified or otherwise) notifying me that they were in pursuit of these debts. Tonight I found a garnishment summons in my door from the county courts. According to this summons, my garnishment hearing is scheduled for 06/11. I don’t understand how they can take the money now, if the garnishment hearing isn’t scheduled until July of this year. What do I do now?

Asked on May 6, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Virginia


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If your creditor filed two lawsuits against you in 2007, if you lived in one area and moved, your creditor may have only been required to send the summons or notice to the last known address. Or indeed that address may have been valid but by the time you were served, you had just moved. It can happen. In many states, the notice requirements can be pretty minimal. At this point, your wages or bank account should not be garnished until you have the hearing but if your wages have been garnished or your bank account garnished, then you may have had other suits or other judgments. If you owe the debt and you know you owe the debt, you can talk to the creditor and see if you can negotiate out and possibly have the hearing continued or cancelled.

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