Writ of Garnishment in Texas

Texas judgment creditors can generally garnish money that you have in the bank with a writ of garnishment.  The writ is issued by the court and then served on your bank.  Your bank freezes every account linked to your name or social security number and files a response to the garnishment proceeding. 

Even a credit card company or debt purchaser can garnish your bank account if they have a valid judgment.   There is a common misconception in Texas that your bank account is free from garnishment but it is not.  Wages on the other hand cannot be garnished in Texas by most creditors but once you deposit the money in the bank, courts have held that the funds lose their “wage” status.

Usually you have no notice of the bank account garnishment prior to your account being frozen.  Often your bank will be the first to notify you that your account(s) are frozen and all funds are inaccessible.

Wages can only be garnished for child support payments, the IRS, for federally guaranteed student loans, or other federal debts such as HUD and SBA loans.  Do not confuse wages with bank accounts.  Garnishment of wages means the creditor intercepts your wages before you get them, but if you get them and put them in the bank, they are no longer wages and just about any creditor can garnish your bank account.  It is also important to note that if your employer is based outside of Texas some creditors may try to garnish the wages before they enter Texas.

Assets held in retirement plans are generally exempt from seizure but if you transfer them to a normal bank account they are usually subject to seizure after 60 days.

Under Texas law, alimony, child support, or separate maintenance for you or your dependant is exempt from garnishment.

Unemployment benefits are exempt from garnishment under the Texas Labor Code provided they are not comingled with any non-exempt funds. 

Workers compensation benefits are generally exempt from garnishment

Federal law exempts from garnishment SSI benefits, Social Security benefits, VA benefits, Civil Services Retirement benefits, Foreign Service Retirement and Disability payments.  These funds however can still be garnished to pay for child support or federal taxes.  If you have a judgment against you and your bank account consists of 100% of the above then you should formally notify your bank not to allow your account to be garnished. 

Insurance proceeds from life, health, or accident insurance are generally exempt from garnishment before or after they are paid pursuant to the Texas Insurance Code.

If you have a judgment that was rendered against you, please contact the law firm of Weston Legal PLLC by calling, emailing, or completing the contact form on this page.  We offer flat fees and payment plans.

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