One of the most effective things I have learned concerning how to
collect my judgments has been the use of wage garnishments. Garnishing
wages has proven to be a great tool for successfully enforcing my
It goes without saying that you must know where
my judgment debtor is employed in order to use this procedure.
Wage Garnishing is allowed in most every state and
jurisdiction. It is obviously necessary to check the statutes and
rules of the jurisdiction so that this procedure can be used simply,
effectively, and legally. In most states it doesn’t cost much
in fees to do this type of garnishment.
There can be a few main hindrances to successfully
garnishing. It is important to be aware of these. Generally a garnishment
is only allowed on 25% or less of an employee’s wages. There
can be a limit of only one wage garnishment being allowed on any
employee at a time. If I check and find a garnishment is already
in place, I may have to wait my turn until the other garnishment
runs out. If a garnishment for child support is involved, that garnishment
is superior to my garnishment. Another hindrance is if my judgment
debtor is self-employed. Sometimes a debtor will quit his job if
a wage garnishment is put in place. This forces me to do a new garnishment
on the debtor’s new employer or else employ some other tactic
to get paid on my judgment. Depending on the jurisdiction, I have
to always be knowledgeable of the minimum wage requirements which
must be met before my debtor’s wages are subject to garnishment.
Finally, if I get a notice that my debtor has filed for bankruptcy,
I cannot get paid on a garnishment, and I have to immediately stop
all collection efforts. Though there are a few possible road blocks
to doing a successful wage garnishment, it is a viable method of
getting my money in many judgment collection situations.
Once a Writ of Execution (or other appropriate form)
is in the hands of the Sheriff or Levying Officer, they do all the
work. They serve the papers on the employer, they collect the wage
witholdings from the employer, and they pay me what I am supposed
to be paid.
Just about anyone would be angry and embarrassed
if their employer is served with papers to garnish the employee’s
wages. Once this happens I can just about expect a noticeable change
in the attitude of my judgment debtor. Sometimes the change is positive
and sometimes negative. If positive, then I might get his cooperation
is settling the judgment debt or he might for the first time express
a willingness to arrange a way to completely pay the judgment debt.
If the attitude change is negative, there are times when the fact
of having wages garnished may push the debtor to seek bankruptcy
relief, or to pursue new employment elsewhere.
If the debtor’s employer is known or can be
found out (as is usually the case), I like the success that can
be experienced if I know how to collect my judgment using wage garnishment.