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Featuring Black’s Law Dictionary Free Online Legal Dictionary 2nd Ed.

How to Avoid a Bank Levy in California

When a person who is a resident of the sovereign US State of California (CA) gets into arrears with a creditor, the state protects the debtor yet gives the creditor some leeway.  On the debtors side there are the

  • ·         Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA),
  • ·         the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA),
  • and the Rosenthal Act.

These acts strictly rein in any creditor who might have any idea of being rough and intimidating with a debtor.  CA will and does treat violators very sternly and very quickly.

However, the struggle is not tilted to the debtor by any means.  If the creditor is acting true to the law, and is essentially getting nowhere with its reluctant debtor, CA credit law does give the creditors some leeway.  The leeway comes in the guise of attaching or garnishing various accounts and wages without any notice to the debtor.  While this may seem unfair to some (actually to many who side with debtors) CA law recognizes the fact that a debtor who has notice of garnishment, or gets just a whiff of this type of action coming soon, is very likely (say, 100% sure) to drain all of these accounts and make the cash essentially “disappear”.   By CA law banks make out better than a non-bank lender in the following way.  In CA a lender can only attach or garnish 25% of whatever is available, especially on wages.  Non-wage accounts can be negotiated according to some experts.  Banks, however, can grab everything that is available, again, without warning to the debtor.  By the time the debtor gets the notice of seizure and or garnishment, the deed has already occurred.  … with no warning at all ….  Also, without any regard to the debtor’s financial responsibilities to a family, and such. 

The key to a debtor becoming aware that an attachment or garnishment is in the works is a filing by a creditor and a notice to the debtor that is known as the CA “memorandum of costs”.  This filing occurs when a creditor wants the court to include additional interest and court costs to the overall debt.  The notice must be given to the debtor at a minimum of 10 business days before the court will order a “writ of execution” for the attachments and or garnishments.  Regardless, a debtor in this financial condition should have a lawyer to provide advice.  When an attachment or garnishment comes with no warning, one’s attorney can delay the action by filing that the action was done improperly.  This is only a delaying tactic, and the debtor will have to act quickly to drain accounts before the follow-up action.

Other actions a debtor can take is filing for bankruptcy, stop any direct deposits (should have occurred long before this condition), and pay other bills with cash or money orders.  Keep cash out of sight.  Some experts even suggest having a bank account out of state.  It will take a fairly long amount of time for a creditor to be able to get to such an account.


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