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Old 01-26-2008, 12:18 PM
20 posts, read 139,387 times
Reputation: 19


Dear Readers -

Can anyone offer some legal advice on the following issue?..

I live in WashingtonState. Earlier this month, my personal bank account was garnished by a former nanny. I never received prior legal notification that a lawsuit was being presented to court. I only found out about the legal action after the funds were seized. Apparently, this person had won the lawsuit, by default. Of couse, exorbitant legal fees have been added to her 'settlement'...

The funds garnished from my account were child support payments, direct deposited into my bank account each month, by my former spouse. As a result of this garnishment, great financial harship ensued for me and my son. I contacted the former nanny's lawyer and explained this situation. I was informed by her attorney that his client was unwilling to return these funds. I was also informed that, as a defendant in this legal matter, the burden of notification for a legal action was squarely on my shoulders. True, I had moved from our previous dwelling, but I did file a Change of Address with the local Postmaster.

Questions: What legal recourse do I have in light of the fact that -

1) I never received proper notification regarding the motion of a lawsuit? (If I had received notification, I certainly would've responded and attended the hearing)...

2) the money seized from my account were, in fact, child support funds? (I have documentation to prove this)...and,

3) Can anyone direct me to a low-income legal service, in Washington State? (We're a bit poor, right now, due to this situation)...

The bitter irony of this little drama is that, during the 2 months of her employment as 'caregiver' I had numerous problems with this person arriving late (which caused me to arrive late to my job), taking personal days off (which cost me days at work), and taking off with my son to visit her friends at Starbucks (when she had been repeatedly instructed to bring him directly home, after school). I was attempting to find a replacement, when this flake quit her job without proper notification (she simply did not show up to work, one day). I contacted her, the morning she quit, and was informed that she was 'going to look for a better job'.

As a result of my missed hours at work, and my inability to immediately find another caregiver for my special needs child, I was fired by my employer. Since then, I have been working part-time jobs (under 30 hours a week) to be able to take my son to and from school as I fear hiring another unreliable 'caregiver' and to avoid the 'Nanny Nightmare' altogether...

Thanks for any advice you can share.
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Old 01-26-2008, 03:27 PM
5,092 posts, read 9,450,026 times
Reputation: 3930
Anyone can sue anyone.

She seems to need a lawyer. You can use that to your advantage if you sue as pro-se (without lawyer). The cost of her attorney in defending from your suit will quickly wipe her out. You can claim more than the first judgment was against you.

As part of discovery you can track if her first lawsuit against you even followed the proper notice procedure and service against you -- probably did not. Then add her attorney for improper practice and sue him, too.

You being low income probably makes for low or no cost filing to get the (counter) lawsuit(s) started.

As far as keeping the bank account safe for now -- have the money from your spouse sent to a trust account for the kids -- that is what its purpose is for, anyway. Since it will not be directly in your name, although you should be the trustee, it will be "judgment proof" as it is not in your name.
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Old 01-26-2008, 04:33 PM
Location: Jonquil City (aka Smyrna) Georgia- by Atlanta
16,248 posts, read 20,093,175 times
Reputation: 3587
You can go to the court where it was filed and ask that the judgement be vacated due to improper/no service. If it was abvious that you were not hiding and you were not served, it will be vacated.
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Old 01-27-2008, 04:36 AM
Location: NE Florida
17,835 posts, read 29,022,347 times
Reputation: 43259
I would check your State law to see if child support is exempt from garnishment. The clerk of the courts as well as a senior manager at your bank may be able to answer this.
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Old 02-04-2008, 02:47 PM
2 posts, read 80,884 times
Reputation: 13
You can file a Motion to Vacate Judgment with the courts - you will list improper service as the reason and it will be on the nanny's "shoulders" to prove that they served you or someone over 18 who lives with you, personally. If they cannot prove that you were served properly, the judgment will be vacated or wiped out. But you have to hurry, the law only allows a certain time after you find out about the judgment to go back and say you weren't served. Fill out the paperwork today - it's a simple piece of paper and you can get it from the Clerk of Court. Once you have a judgment vacated, you can sue her to get your money back. I wouldn't go up against an attorney without having one myself. Look in your phone book under Legal Aid or call an abused women's shelter to get the phone number (they always know the low-income legal sources where their low-income residents can go to get free legal help - you don't have to be abused, just ask them for the legal aid phone number) As for the lein on your bank account - it is for that PARTICULAR bank. You must have paid her with a check for her to know where you bank to get that account frozen. Go to another bank, open an account (a trust account for the kids with you as trustee if you can) and notify whoever does your direct deposit (child support enforcement, ex-hubby, etc) of the new bank routing number and account number for future deposits. She'll have to know which bank you went to and file an order of lien with the new bank to continue to get to the funds. In the meantime, you can start your Motion to Vacate, your lawsuit to reclaim the funds she took improperly. While all this is underway, if she finds your funds in the new bank I would pronto file an affidavit with the court in her lawsuit that the funds you have are exempt from lien as they are protected child support payments (if your state exempts them).
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Old 02-04-2008, 07:23 PM
20 posts, read 139,387 times
Reputation: 19
Dear Moodyblooz -

Thanks for your advice. I did close the bank account in questions...but, of course, it's a mess due to the NSF charges this garnishment caused. I've heard that Child Support is considered 'Exempt Property' from creditor garnishments...but I'm not sure if I need to file a claim for this with the court. Are you familiar with garnishment exemptions?..
Anyway, thanks so much. You've been a great help.
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Old 02-19-2008, 08:29 AM
2 posts, read 80,884 times
Reputation: 13
Hi Charlie,
Every state is different, but if your state exempts child support (most states do), it is a simple matter of filing an affidavit with the court that the funds are exempt. This usually results in a very fast hearing to determine if the funds are exempt - the burden of proof will be on you that ONLY exempt funds are in the account (cancelled checks, direct deposit receipts, etc.) The other side can deny the exemption of funds, so the judge will decide if you've proven your case and order the lien stopped and any exempt funds returned. Again, you will have to hurry - most states limit the amount of time in which you can claim seized funds as exempt after they've been taken. If the time limit has passed, the funds are unlikely to be recovered.
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Old 02-26-2008, 04:44 PM
1 posts, read 40,285 times
Reputation: 14
Default Bank Account Garnishing

I was wondering if anyone knew if Child Support could garnish from my business account. I currently live in California and have my business here in Los Angeles. I am hesitant in banking with anyone for my business account as i am a sole owner and the business account is my own account. I do have my EIN associated on the account but I am unsure if Child Support will garnish from my business account even though I have the account under my EIN. If anyone could shed some light onto this I would appreciate it. thank you
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Old 01-02-2009, 09:43 PM
1 posts, read 37,198 times
Reputation: 13
1) is it legally possible for state of washington support enforcement to garnish a bank account -leaving a ZERO balance with no notice to the account holder - even if the person owning the bank account has already entered into an agreement whereas the person's wages are being garnished for child support as well as arears, whereas, a percentage of the wage garnishment is being paid toward the arears. Is this normal procedure or what? the person's account was completely wiped out leaving them nothing to live on - despite the ongoing wage garnishment. Please let me know is this legally possible and under what circumstances can this be done. thanks deb valentine [email]dvalentine50@hotmail.com[/email]
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Old 06-27-2010, 07:07 PM
2 posts, read 31,887 times
Reputation: 10
I have a related question I recieved a child support check drawn off of us bank department of justice division of child support and they told me there was a business account there that i was listed as a signer on,when i used to do books pt a while back for this company, and it was negative and i would have to give them 1300 to cash my 2300 dept of justice div of child support check.So I ended up with only 1000 in my pocket and i was not even the business owner,can they do that?
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