Washington, DC asked in Banking, Consumer Law, Contracts and Small Claims for Maryland

Q: can a lender garnish a bank account with only $150.00 in it? on a $10,000 judgement. What can we do?

my wife and I left a leased property early and had a $10,000 judgement entered against us. Today we saw her account with $150.00 was garnished.

1 Lawyer Answer
Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
  • Business Law Lawyer
  • Rockville, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: Yes. However, all persons in Maryland have statutory exemption rights. Basically, there are various dollar amounts that you can exempt from attachment by judgment creditors. Chief among those exemptions is the $6,000 “wild card” exemption that can be used on any asset you own, including cash in your bank account, that effectively protects all amounts up to $6,000 from being attached or garnished to pay a debt. Other exemptions apply to specific assets, like personal furnishings ($1,000), retirement accounts (IRAs, e.g., 100% exempt), etc. You must assert your exemption rights in writing, by filing in the court action a written objection to the attachment and notice to assert your statutory exemption under Maryland Courts & Judicial Proceedings Code Section 11-504(b)(5) to all funds in the attached account up to the sum of $6,000. Serve a copy on the bank and the creditor’s lawyer as well. You must file this within 30 days of the attachment or you waive your exemption on this attachment proceeding. Thereafter, the court will rule on your objection and release your account from the attachment. Sometimes the creditor voluntarily cancels the attachment after receiving the objection.

Bruce Alexander Minnick agrees with this answer

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