A judgment is a court order stating that you owe another party a certain amount of money. With the judgment, the other party can collect its funds by placing a levy on a bank account. Banks do not refuse service to customers because of a judgment and will not disclose any information to third parties unless the court order expressly states it or you give written authorization. Protecting your assets while dealing with the money owed in a judgment may become a priority so you can pay day-to-day expenses.
Go to a new bank you have not held accounts with. Prior banking information can show up on a credit report. Those collecting debts may frequently review your credit report searching for collection opportunities.
Ask the account representative to open the account for you. No money can be taken from the account until the court order is filed with the bank. Refrain from applying for credit cards or loans at this bank, which would create a credit inquiry in your file. Politely decline all offers, to remain off the radar as long as possible.
Maintain a positive bank history. Overdrafts and returned checks for insufficient funds go on your credit record. Avoid anything that will create a ding to give collectors a lead.
Consider opening a joint account with a friend or family member you trust (not a spouse if you're co-named in the judgment). Do not open the account as "joint tenants with rights of survivorship," but instead as "joint tenants in common." The first structure allows both parties 100 percent equality in the account, whereas the second segregates ownership. The other party must receive prior notification of a levy in most states, giving you time to close the account and move to another bank.