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My husbands savings account was garnished for 4303. We have…

My husbands savings account...

My husbands savings account was garnished for 4303. We have no idea what it is for. We were not notified of any judgement, lien or garnishment, I had a credit card from 10 yrs ago that is around that balance but less, I am NOT a joint owner on his account, only an authorized signed, however; my direct deposit payroll goes into his account as I had no bank account. The money they took come from his savings account, of which I am also NOT a joint owner-ONLY an authorized signer. Money is only placed in the savings by transfer from the checking account or by physical deposit. I do not know for sure what the garnishment is for, only that it is close to the amount of the credit that was in my maiden name 10 years ago before I was married. Is this legal, can they do this?

Lawyer's Assistant: What state are you in? It matters because laws vary by location.

VA

Lawyer's Assistant: What steps have you taken so far?

None, I checked the bank acct this morning to transfer funds for a business trip and saw that garnishment and levy fee, bank does not open until 9am and I will be on the road at that time and it will be difficult to contact them

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

Not that I can think of at the moment, just scared to death, and can they take the money from an account that I am not a joint owner on

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
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Answered in 7 minutes by:
4/11/2018
Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 32,264
Experience: Lawyer
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Hi,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear that this happened.

Your husband isn't responsible for any debts you incurred before the marriage, so they cannot garnish an account belonging solely to him without first getting a judgment against him. And they can't get a judgment against him in this scenario, because you weren't married at the time the debt was incurred.

The problem is, an authorized signer is someone who is given permission to spend and deposit money on behalf of someone else. All transactions are supposed to be for the benefit of that third party. The fact that you have your direct deposit going into the account tends to suggest that you really are an owner, despite the way the account is titled. If your social security number is ***** the account, or if you have a debit card, or if you're writing checks/making purchases for things that are only for you, they may try to argue that they should be allowed to take those funds, anyway. In that case, you might wind up in court over whether you really are an owner of the account in all but the name.

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With that said, the statute of limitations for collecting a debt in Virginia only 5 years. They would need to have sued you 5 years ago before they have any ability to do anything.

The bank will have mailed you a notice of the levy after they debited the account. They're not allowed to send it before. You can call when they open and talk to someone in their lien department, but you'll get something in the mail within a few days. That notice should tell you exactly what the levy is for, which should also give you the information you need to file a Motion with the court asking that they order the other party to release the funds if the debt isn't for your husband (or if they don't have a valid judgment).

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
they can do this without at least first getting the judgement

No. They have to have a judgment. It's possible they got one you don't know about, in which case you might be able to file a Motion to Vacate it. But first you need to confirm who took the money and why.

You can also call the local civil courthouse to see if they any case against you in your current or maiden name. That might give you a better idea, but they're also not going to be open yet.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
my direct deposit goes to checking, not into the savings where they took money from--

That's one of the arguments you'll be able to make if they try to claim that you're really a joint owner, not an authorized signer.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
do I need to contact a local owner--to deal with this?

A local owner?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
sorry, lawyer

Ah, OK. You might want to if they try to claim that you own your husband's accounts. But for now, you can do all the initial legwork yourself. You don't need a lawyer to find out who placed the garnishment, dispute it if there IS no judgment, to get information on any existing judgment or to move to reopen a default judgment.

All of those things take time, which adds up, and you don't want to wind up paying a lawyer more than they took by the time you get into court.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
ok thank you, ***** ***** worried, just don't know what to do. I have been paying on the debt and I was paying using a debit card that is attached to the checking account, will that still allow them to take the money from the savings?

That likely gives them the ability to take money out of the checking account, because those payments aren't for the benefit of your husband. But that doesn't automatically give them access to the savings account. They also still need a judgment.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
does the judgement have to be against him for them to do that or if its me, can they do it anyway? Usually our local law enforcement hand delivers judgement paperwork, and we haven't received anything, ever----

If it's against him, they can absolutely take the money out. If it's against you, they have to prove that you really are an owner of the account, not just an authorized signer.

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Have I answered your question? If any part of my response is unclear, please reply WITHOUT rating so I can clarify. My goal is to provide excellent service, so if I've done that, please give me a 5-star rating before signing out. Thank you for using JustAnswer.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
5 star. thank you for your help

You're welcome! Good luck with this.

Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 32,264
Experience: Lawyer
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