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Bank account garnished today; My first notice of a judgement being out there.

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So today I notice that my bank account is overdrawn from a legal fee. When I called the bank they said that a garnishment was issued to them, there was no money to garnish but the fee still applied. The bank let me know that Hameroff/Lavinski Law Offices issued the garnishment and gave me their phone number.

Here are all the details of what I know and the research I have done so far.

My wife had a credit card years ago that she just let go (not married at the time). The last activity on the card (payment, acknowlegement, etc) was in 6/2003. We lived in Arizona during this time.

In 9/2007 we received a letter from the Hameroff Law group stating a debt was owed, blah, blah, blah... We replied to the letter stating that we have no record of the debt, that we would like proof that the debt was ours, and that we have recently moved to Florida (that month). This letter was sent certified mail with return receipt, and I still have the receipt saying they received it. We never heard back from them, we had the mail forwarded from our old address for close to a year, so we assumed we had heard the last of it.

Fast forward to today... after discovering that my bank account has been garnished I did a little research. According to the Pima county online court records, a case was filed in January 9, 2008, motion for alternitive service was granted on February 29, 2008, we were "served" (no knowledge of service) on March 18, 2008, and a default judgement was issued on June 2008.

During this entire time, the house I used to live in sat vacant. Technically it was still my house, but the company I work for paid my mortgage while they tried to sell it. As of 3/2009 the house has sold and is no longer in my name.

What is my best course of action? Is challenging this type of thing doable living out of state or would an attorney be a better idea. If attorney is the best idea can anyone refer me to one is the south Arizona area? Before the court filing, the SoL had passed (I think AZ is 3 years), is it possible to have a judgement vacated and use the SoL defense? The "service" also seems shady to me. I know I need to act quickly now that I know about it, I am just looking for opinions on direction. Also, how quickly might they try to garnish other bank accounts that I may have?

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do the records say who signed for the summons? in my county the court records will state the person that signed for it. Also, if you were not properly served, the you can file a motion to vacate judgement and get it removed from your credit. I dont know how to get the money back though, that might require an atty.

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