Garnishment

Garnishment in the United States

Garnishment Definition

In Old Practice. A warning to any one for his appearance, in a cause in which he is not a party, for the information of the court and explaining a cause. For example, in the practice of Pennsylvania, when an attachment issues against a debtor, in order to secure to the plaintiff a claim due by a third person to such debtor, notice is given to such third person, which notice is a garnishment, and he is called the garnishee. In Modern Practice. A writ or process by which money owing to a defendant -according to the definition of Garnishment based on The Cyclopedic Law Dictionary– is attached in the hands of the creditor, and the creditor is required to appear at a designated time, and disclose the nature and extent of the indebtedness. In some sta,tes this process is called trustee process, in Connecticut factorizing process, and in New York the term garnishment is not used, it being classed as an attachment.

For other meanings of it, read Garnishment in the Legal Dictionary here.

Plain-English Law

Garnishment as defined by Nolo’s Encyclopedia of Everyday Law (p. 437-455): A court-ordered process that takes property from a person to satisfy a debt. For example, a creditor may garnish a debtor’s wages if the debtor loses a lawsuit filed by the creditor.

Practical Information

A legal proceeding by a judgment creditor (in U.S. law) to compel a third party owing money to, or holding money for, a judgment debtor to pay the money to the creditor instead of to the debtor. The third party against whom the proceedings are brought is called the garnishee. Not only wages and salaries, but trust funds, insurance disability payments, and the like may be garnished. The laws that govern the right of garnishment and the procedures in effecting garnishment differ greatly in the various states. Collecting a judgment by garnishment is particularly useful to a retail creditor whose customers are composed largely of salaried people or wage earners. (Revised by Ann De Vries)

Legal Materials

The U.S. Department of Labor posts information about the Federal garnishment law.

Garnishment laws for all 50 states are summarized by BCS Alliance.com, the CCH State Law Summaries on Intelliconnect, and West’s Guide to Employment Law and Regulation; double-check the summaries with the relevant state statutory codes. Or skip the summaries and go directly to the codes.

Garnishment is discussed in the Vicki Lambert’s Garnishment: A Practical Guide(CCH), Joan Garrett’s The Law of Attachment & Garnishment (Oceana Publications), Amorette Nelson Bryant’s Complete Guide to Federal and State Garnishment, theEmployer’s Guide to Garnishment (RIA) and Robert Hobbs’ Fair Debt Collection(National Consumer Law Center).

Concept of Garnishment in Labor Law

In this context, a definition of Garnishment is offered here: Deductions made by an employer from an employee’s wages and rendered to a creditor of the employee.

Meaning of Garnishment

In plain or simple terms, Garnishment means: A court order to take part of a person’s wages, before he gets them, and apply the amount taken to pay a debt owed to a creditor.

Resources

See Also

Further Reading

Further Reading (Articles)

DOD GARNISHMENT PROGRAM, US Fed News Service, Including US State News; July 20, 2007

Ignoring Wage Garnishments Can Cost You. Literally., Mondaq Business Briefing; February 22, 2011

Writ of garnishment served? Consult your legal counsel, Texas Banking; February 1, 1996; Rodgers, Kelly

Re: Proposed Guidance On Garnishment Of Exempt Federal Benefit Funds, US Fed News Service, Including US State News; November 27, 2007

Patent Issued for Pillar Garnishments, Interior Garnishment Assemblies Incorporating the Same, and Methods for Controlling Alignment of Interior Garnishment Assemblies, Journal of Engineering; October 2, 2013

Recent Changes to Florida’s Wage Garnishment Exemption, Florida Bar Journal; November 1, 2012; Mitchell, Mark S.

Patent Application Titled “System for the Interchange of Garnishment Requests and Responses among Collection Attorneys and Potential Garnishees” Published Online, Politics & Government Week; October 3, 2013

FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE GENERAL COUNSEL KELSEY TESTIFIES ON IMPACT OF GARNISHMENT ON SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS BEFORE SENATE PANEL, US Fed News Service, Including US State News; September 20, 2007

Agency Reviews Patent Application Approval Request for “Pillar Garnishments, Interior Garnishment Assemblies Incorporating the Same, and Methods for Controlling Alignment of Interior Garnishment Assem, Politics & Government Week; March 28, 2013

Update: Banks Must Protect Depositors’ Social Security and Other Federal Benefits from Garnishments – Treasury Issues Final Rule, Mondaq Business Briefing; June 24, 2013; Vinson, Laurence., Jr.

ATTORNEY GENERAL COOPER ISSUES OPINION REGARDING EMPLOYER’S FEE FOR COMPLIANCE WITH GARNISHMENT, US Fed News Service, Including US State News; February 12, 2007

Peach State Pitfalls: Georgia Employers Must Now Use an Attorney to File Garnishment Answers.(Georgia. Supreme Court), Mondaq Business Briefing; September 27, 2011

Georgia Supreme Court Rules Non-Lawyers May Not Answer Garnishments., Mondaq Business Briefing; September 21, 2011

Laws Set Limits, Rules on Wage Garnishment, The Register Guard (Eugene, OR); September 28, 2003

COURT DECISION MAKES IT IMPERATIVE GARNISHMENT AFFIDAVITS CONTAIN NEW AND PRECISE LANGUAGE-OR PENALTIES COULD RESULT, Commercial Law World; September 1, 2006; Cook, Courtney Hyslip, Jeffrey

WISCONSIN: Rep. Sheridan Introduces Bill Regarding Wage Garnishment, US Fed News Service, Including US State News; April 11, 2007

FEDERAL COMMITTEE EYES GARNISHMENTS, The Roanoke Times (Roanoke, VA); September 22, 2007; Rob Johnson rob.johnson@roanoke.com 9 81-3234

TREASURY ISSUES NEW GARNISHMENT PROCEDURES., States News Service; February 28, 2011

US Patent Issued to Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America on Sept. 17 for “Pillar Garnishments, Interior Garnishment Assemblies Incorporating the Same, and Methods for Controlling Alignment of Interior Garnishment Assemblies” (American, Japanese Inventors), US Fed News Service, Including US State News; September 17, 2013

Senator Baucus Calls for Clearer Garnishment Ban, American Banker; September 21, 2007; Hopkins, Cheyenne

Garnishment: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

Federal Primary Materials

The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Garnishment. This part provides references, in relation to Garnishment, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

Federal primary materials about Garnishment by content types:

Laws and Regulations

US Constitution
Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

Federal Case Law and Court Materials

U.S. Courts of Appeals
United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

Presidential Materials

Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

Executive Materials

Federal Legislative History Materials

Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Garnishment and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Garnishment or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

State Administrative Materials and Resources

State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Garnishment and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Garnishment. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Garnishment should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Garnishment when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

Tools and Forms

Law in Other Regions

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