My bank account was just garnished (with a bank levy). The bank is holding the money. If I file bankruptcy, can I get it back?

Maybe, even though you’re not supposed to get any of it back.

On the day we file bankruptcy, it stops garnishment, levies, and foreclosure from that moment forward.  Unfortunately, if you were garnished or levied prior to filing the bankruptcy, realistically, the money is gone.

That being said, most banks sit on the funds for a couple of weeks before releasing them to the creditor.  This gives the person who was garnished an opportunity to file a motion with the court to argue that the funds shouldn’t have been garnished (because they were social security payments, or child support, or something of the like).

I have seen a handful of times where we file bankruptcy, the bank gets notice of the bankruptcy, and the bank gives the money back to the debtor (the person filing bankruptcy).  Technically, this isn’t right, and the creditor should receive the money, but I’ve never had a creditor object to it.  Of course, I’ve never had a debtor object to getting his money back either.

So, no, bankruptcy won’t get your money back in 99% of the cases, but you can always hope.


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