Writ of Garnishment

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I just received a copy of an "application for writ of garnishment" of my bank account in Washington State. Along with an "application for writ of garnishment" for a former employer. The filing date was about a month ago. The actual certified letters I received today after attempted delivery two days ago. They say I have 20 days to respond.

This is with Portfolio recovery associates. They already have a judgement because I didn't respond to the summons thinking it was fake after looking through court cases by name search at the time. Turned out my name was spelled wrong in the system so it didn't come up on my search at the time.

I have two questions:

1. Should I stop auto deposit on my paycheck scheduled to be deposited the day after tomorrow?

2. Last week I cashed out my 401k early from my former employment which the writ of garnishment was for, will they take it?

I am a single mother on state assistance after suffering a layoff and have just started getting back on track. Not even going to go into the debt (1900) I'd like to pay off with my next tax refund if I can pay by cash until then...

Thanks in advance for any advice.

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I have seen wage garnishments that ended up getting overturned and all garnished wages returned. In that situation...the JDB was using a wrong address to mail the notices etc. Alleged debtor only learned of it when their paycheck was short. They ended up motioning the court to vacate the default judgment due to not having being served and the wrong venue as well.


To your case, I don't know that you can establish 'excusable neglect' in not having responded to the sermons. That would be one of the only ways to vacate the default judgment.


As far as, stopping the direct deposit for Friday...any garnishment is not gonna happen by Friday. The 20 days they gave you to respond must expire. You definitely need to send in a response. If it's meritorious defense, a hearing may also be scheduled. Either way, a judge would have to sign off on it at some point after the 20 days. I know for Social Security and disability...they can't touch those. State assistance might fall in the same category. 

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Against All Odds,

Thank you for your response. Would the 20 days begin the day I signed for the certified letters or the dates on the court docs? One court document says July 10 and the other July 15. They didn't attempt to deliver to me until two days ago. The papers were also mailed to my bank and former employer.

Also, if they can't take my money, can't the bank freeze my account right away before the 20 days are up?

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I would think there would be a notation somewhere in the mailing that indicate what the date of service was. In the absence of that, the rules of court would indicate what applies. For instance, my local rules of court say service is assumed within 3 days if made by mail e.g. if plaintiff mailed out the correspondence Aug 6th, court determines that I was served Aug 9th and my 20 days would be Aug 29th.


Back to your rules of court again...some courts require that service be made by both regular and certified mail. If the regular mail was not returned, then they'll assume the service was valid. Don't know what the rules in Washington are...that would be best answered by other forum members from your area. I think your thread would have drawn more responses if the state was in the title.


As you mentioned, it would appear that you can access case info online...try that and see if you can see any notations as far as filing dates. if it's not available, a trip to the courthouse or phone call may be necessary. 


For your sake, let's just hope that the day you signed for the certified mail is acceptable. The July 10th or 15th dates do you no justice at this point....they are both past the 20 days. 


The application itself doesn't authorize the bank to freeze your assets, they can only do that once they receive the writ of garnishment. 

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Didn't have 20 days. My bank account was frozen today and I couldn't stop direct deposit of my paycheck tomorrow so I'll have no money to support my family for two weeks. According to WA state law, $500 is supposed to be exempt because my account will have less than $1500 in it but don't know when that will be available.

My mortgage is due and I wonder if any payment I try to make will be taken by the collectors.

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No, it's not automatically taken out. I'm just wondering since they have garnishment order at my bank if they can claim payments I try to make on my mortgage?

Good news today...was able to withdraw my minimum $500 this morning (had to try) then went and bought a bunch of packs of gum at the store and got $100 cash back with each transaction so effectively drained my account.

Don't know why account wasn't frozen. I thought it was since there was a $35 charge which made my account negative before my paycheck was deposited. The charge said "memo WA garnish order".

I'm just hoping to make it by with cash until Tax return and pay then. They don't have my current employer. I guess worst case scenario is they find where I work and garnish my pay but still that is better than my entire bank account...

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