by Christopher Jackson, JD
If a creditor attempts to garnish your income or benefits, you have the ability to object to the garnishment within 14 days. In order to object to garnishment, you have to do so on very specific grounds. With a legitimate objection, you could prevent your income from being garnished. Many creditors will also attempt to garnish your savings or other bank accounts, so it is important to respond to any court documents you receive regarding debt collection or garnishment.
Many creditors will attempt to garnish your bank accounts, regardless of it containing Social Security or other protected benefits. Under federal law, your financial institution is required to determine whether or not your funds are exempt from garnishment. If your financial institution does not believe your funds are exempt, or it incorrectly fills out the paperwork, you have 14 days to object to the determination in court. Objecting to this determination is important because it can prevent the garnishment of your benefits.
Objecting to garnishment because the funds are exempt from garnishment is not the only basis for objection. You are also able to object to garnishment for the follow reasons:
- The creditor’s garnishment order was improperly issued by the court;
- Your debt to the creditor has been paid off;
- You have prior garnishments levied against you by other creditors and those garnishments equal the maximum garnishment under the law;
- The garnishment is barred by an installment payment order; or
- You have a pending bankruptcy proceeding, which under Federal law prevents garnishment from occurring.
If you are contacted about a garnishment against you or if a court action is filed against you for debt collection, it is important to contact an attorney. Elder Law of Michigan provides many resources to assist seniors in debt collection and garnishment cases. If you have questions or feel that you need assistance in these type of situations, please call the Legal Hotline for Michigan Seniors at Elder Law of Michigan at 1-800-347-5297.
Christopher Jackson is an attorney at Elder Law of Michigan, and has been a member of the Elder Law team since early 2014. Christopher holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International Relations from the University of Indianapolis, and graduated with his Juris Doctor in 2013 from Michigan State University College of Law. As an attorney at Elder Law, Christopher provides legal advice to Michigan seniors on a wide-variety of areas, including estate planning, wills and trusts, Medicare/Medicaid, social security benefits, and insurance issues.