I received a letter from the court about my account stating that: “Upon receipt of this notice, you are prohibited from removing for attempting to remove the money, property, or credits until expressly permitted by the court. Any violation of this prohibition subjects you to punishment for contempt of court.” My question is does this mean that I cannot take any money from that account at all? Not even to pay my bills? The money that is in that account right now is for my house payment and if I do not pay it by the end of the month they will foreclose on me. What can I do?
A creditor has obtained a court order to freeze your account (it may be referred to as a bank levy, garnishment, or attachment). If the amount of money the court has ordered frozen exceeds the amount of money in your account, you will not be able to withdraw any money (including automatic payments). This means that, as it stands now, you will not be able to pay your mortgage payment from this account.
You have a few options to try and release the funds. First, if you have any automatic deposits set up for this account, you should stop those. Once they are deposited in that account, they will also be frozen. You can deposit funds in another account that hasn’t been frozen. This will allow you to pay bills from these new funds, but it is only a short-term fix since creditors will be able to freeze this new account as well.
Second, you can call the creditor that has frozen your account. You may be able to enter into a payment plan with them, and they may be willing to release your funds. This may not be successful, however, because creditors usually file these garnishments as a last resort to collect money owed.
Finally, you will want to respond to the garnishment in the ordering court. You can file motions requesting that some funds be exempted, either for basic living expenses or because the source of the funds are exempt from garnishment. You can also challenge the garnishment as a whole. An attorney who specializes in financial matters such as a bankruptcy attorney will be able to look at all of the facts surrounding the garnishment and help you release some or all of the funds, if that’s possible. This process will take time, so you should try and make other arrangements to pay your bills, if at all possible.