State Garnishment Laws: Florida, Georgia, and Hawaii

Here you will find judgment laws and rules which apply for the area of garnishments in the states of Florida, Georgia, and Hawaii. Realize that codes, regulations, and court rules change from time to time. You will want to check to confirm that these statutes are up to date as of the time you need to apply them. State garnishment laws will dictate how you must proceed with implementing a garnishment. Garnishments are a primary part of judgment law. This post will help anyone who desires to use a garnishment to enforce a money judgment whether it be a judgment Georgia, Florida, or Hawaii.

Florida Procedural Requirements

Final process to enforce a judgment solely for the payment of money shall be by execution, writ of garnishment or other appropriate process or proceedings. Fla. R. Civil. P. 1.570. In aid of a judgment, decree or execution the judgment creditor may obtain discovery from any person, including the judgment debtor, in the manner provided in the Rules of Civil Procedure. Fla. R. Civil. P. 1.560.

Executions on judgments shall issue during the life of the judgment on oral request of the party entitled to it or his attorney without praecipe. No execution or other final process shall issue until the judgment on which it is based has been recorded nor within the time for serving a motion for new trial or rehearing and if a motion for new trial or rehearing is timely served, until it is determined; provided execution or other final process may be issued on special order of the court at any time after judgment. Fla. R. Civil. P. 1.550.

Every person who has sued to recover a debt or has recovered judgment in any court against any person, natural or corporate, has a right to a writ of garnishment to subject any debt due to defendant by a third person. Fla. Statute. Ann. _ 77.01. After judgment has been obtained against defendant but before the writ of garnishment is issued, the plaintiff, his agent or attorney, shall file a motion Statuting the amount of the judgment and that movant does not believe that defendant has in his possession visible property on which a levy can be made sufficient to satisfy the judgment. The motion may be filed and the writ issued either before or after the return of execution. Fla. Statute. Ann. _ 77.03.

The writ shall require the garnishee to serve an answer to it on plaintiff within twenty days after service Statuting whether he is indebted to defendant at the time of answer, or was indebted at the time of service of the writ, or at any time between such times; and in what sum and what tangible or intangible personal property of the defendant he has in his possession or control at the time of his answer, or had at the time of the service of the writ, or at any time in between such times; and whether he knows of any other person indebted to defendant, or who may have any of the property of defendant in his possession or control. The writ shall Statutee the amount of the judgment. Fla. Statute. Ann. _ 77.04.

Within 5 days after service of the garnishee’s answer on the plaintiff or after the time period for the garnishee’s answer has expired, the plaintiff shall serve on the judgment debtor, by mail, the following documents: a copy of the writ, a copy of the answer, a notice, and a certificate of service. The notice shall advise the judgment debtor that he must move to dissolve the writ within the time period set forth in _ 77.07(2) [20 days] or be defaulted and that he may have exemptions from the garnishment which must be asserted as a defense. The plaintiff shall serve these documents on the judgment debtor at his last known address and any other address disclosed by the garnishee’s answer. The plaintiff must also serve these documents on any other person disclosed in the garnishee’s answer to have any ownership interest in the deposit, account, or property controlled by the garnishee. The plaintiff shall file in the proceeding a certificate of such service. Fla. Statute. Ann. _ 77.055.

Service of the writ shall make the garnishee liable for all debts due by him to the defendant and for any tangible or intangible personal property of the defendant in his possession or control at the time of service of the writ or at any time between the service and the time of his answer. The garnishee shall report in his answer and retain any deposit, account, or tangible or intangible personal property in the possession or control of such garnishee; and the answer shall Statutee the name or names and addresses, if known to the garnishee, of the defendant and any other persons having or appearing to have an ownership interest in the involved property. Fla. Statute. Ann. _ 77.06.

Before issuance of any writ of garnishment, the party applying for it shall deposit $100 in the registry of the court which shall be paid to garnishee on his demand at any time after the service of the writ for the payment or part payment of his attorney’s fee which he expends, or agrees to expend, in obtaining representation in response to the writ. At the time of deposit, the clerk shall collect the Statutory fee provided by _ 28.24(13) [service charge for receiving money into the registry of the court equal to 2% of the first $500 plus 1% of each subsequent $100] in addition to the $100 deposited into the registry of the court.

On rendering final judgment, the court shall determine the garnishee’s costs and expenses, including a reasonable attorney’s fee, and in the event of a judgment in favor of the plaintiff, the amount shall be subject to offset by the garnishee against the defendant whose property or debt owing is being garnished. In addition, the court shall tax the garnishee’s costs and expenses as costs. Plaintiff may recover in this manner the sum advanced by him and paid into the registry of court, and if the amount allowed by the court is greater than the amount of the deposit, judgment for garnishee shall be entered against the party against whom the costs are taxed for the deficiency. Fla. Statute. Ann. _ 77.28.

Interest Rate at which Judgments Accrue On December 1 of each year, the Comptroller of the Statutee of Florida shall set the rate of interest that shall be payable on judgments or decrees for the year beginning January 1 by averaging the discount rate of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York for the preceding year, then adding 500 basis points to the averaged federal discount rate. This process shall not affect a rate of interest established by written contract or obligation. Fla. Statute. Ann. _ 55.03. Applicable Forms Fla. R. Civil. P., Form 1.907.

Georgia Procedural Requirements

In all cases where a money judgment shall have been obtained, the plaintiff shall be entitled to the process of garnishment. Georgia. Code Ann. _ 18460. The plaintiff, the plaintiff’s attorney at law, or the plaintiff’s agent shall make, on personal knowledge, an affidavit setting forth that the plaintiff has a judgment against a named defendant, the amount claimed to be due on the judgment, the name of the court which rendered the judgment, and the case number thereof. Upon the filing of the affidavit with the clerk of any court having jurisdiction over the garnishee, the clerk shall cause a summons of garnishment to issue forthwith; provided, however, that the affidavit shall first be made and approved in one of the following ways: The affidavit may be made before and approved by a judge of the court in which the garnishment proceeding is filed. The affidavit may be made before and approved by a judge of the court that rendered the judgment upon which the garnishment is based. The affidavit may made before and approved by a judge of any court of record. The affidavit may be made before any officer authorized to administer oaths, including a notary public, provided the affidavit is then submitted by mail or in person to any judge of a court of record and is approved by him. The affidavit may be made before the clerk of the court in which the garnishment is filed or before any officer authorized to administer oaths, including a notary public, and may be approved by the clerk if the judge or judges of the court promulgate rules supervising the initiation of the garnishment proceedings and the affidavit is made and approved pursuant to such rules. Georgia. Code Ann. _ 18461.

The summons of garnishment shall be directed to the garnishee, commanding him to file an answer Statuting what money or other property is subject to garnishment. Upon the affidavit and summons being delivered to the sheriff, marshal, constable, or like officer of the court issuing the summons, it shall be his duty to serve the summons of garnishment upon the person to whom it is directed and to make his entry of service upon the affidavit and return the affidavit to the court. If the garnishee is a bank or other financial institution and if the defendant does not have an active account with, and is not the owner of any money or property in the possession of, the bank or financial institution then the garnishee may immediately file an answer; however, such answer shall be filed not later than 45 days after the service of the summons. If the defendant does have an active account with, or is the owner of any money or property in the possession of, the bank or financial institution then the garnishee must file an answer no sooner than 30 days and no later than 45 days after the service of the summons and must be accompanied by the money or other property subject to garnishment. Georgia. Code Ann. _ 18462.

In a garnishment based on a judgment, the defendant shall be given notice of the filing of the first summons of garnishment on an affidavit for garnishment and of the issuance of an additional summons of garnishment on such affidavit when no notice has been given to the defendant within 90 days immediately preceding the issuance of such additional summons, using any one of the methods contained in __ 18464 or 9114.

No money or other property delivered to the court by the garnishee shall be distributed; nor shall any judgment be rendered against the garnishee until after the expiration of ten days from the date of compliance with at least one method of notification. Georgia. Code Ann. 18464. The garnishee shall be entitled to his actual reasonable expenses, including attorney’s fees, in making a true answer of garnishment. The amount so incurred shall be taxed in the bill of costs and shall be paid by the party upon whom the cost is cast, as costs are cast in other cases.

The garnishee may deduct $25 or 10 percent of the amount paid into court, whichever is greater, not to exceed $50, as reasonable attorney’s fees or expenses. If the garnishee can show that his actual attorney’s fees or expenses exceed the above amount, he must petition the court for a hearing at the time of making his answer without deducting from the amount paid into court. Upon hearing from the parties, the court may enter an order for the payment of actual attorney’s fees or expenses proven by the garnishee to have been incurred reasonably in making his answer. Georgia. Code Ann. _ 18497.

Interest Rate at which Judgments Accrue All judgments shall bear interest upon the principal amount recovered at the rate of 12 percent per year unless the judgment is rendered on a written contract or obligation providing for interest at a specified rate, in which case the judgment shall bear interest at the rate specified in such contract or obligation. Georgia. Code Ann. _ 7412. Applicable Forms Georgia. Code Ann. _ 18466.

Hawaii Procedural Requirements

In any action brought by a creditor against a debtor, the creditor may, after judgment rendered in the creditor’s favor, request the court to summon any garnishee to appear personally, upon a day appointed in the summons for hearing the cause as against the garnishee, and make full disclosure. Alias summons shall also be issued and served upon the garnishee in any of the manners described under _ 6522.5 [1].

At the time of service, any and every element of any garnishee fund [2] then in the hands of the garnishee shall be there secured to pay the judgment already recovered and may not otherwise be disposed of by the garnishee. If any party named in the process as garnishee is a corporation, firm, or person having places of business in more than one judicial circuit or district in the Statutee, the service of process upon the garnishee shall operate only to secure the garnishee fund within the circuit, circuits, or district in which the process is served. Haw. Rev. Statute. _ 6521.

In all cases in which the garnishee is summoned after judgment, the garnishee fund, or such part thereof as may be sufficient for that purpose, shall be liable to pay the judgment. The plaintiff on praying out execution shall be entitled to have included in the execution an order directing the officer serving the same to make demand of the garnishee for the debt or wages secured in his hands or the moneys held by him for safekeeping. Haw. Rev. Statute. _ 6522.

Whenever any person summoned as a garnishee may be desirous of so doing, the person may apply to the district judge or any judge of the court from which the summons may have issued, and the judge having caused reasonable notice to be given to the plaintiff in the action, shall proceed to take the deposition of the person thus summoned, and make such orders as may be proper in the premises, at any time previous to the date appointed for hearing the cause, and the person summoned as garnishee, shall be taken to have obeyed the summons. Haw. Rev. Statute. _ 6529.

Section 6529 shall be printed or written conspicuously on every summons issuing out of any court of the Statutee which is intended to be served on any alleged attorney, factor, trustee, or debtor of a defendant in any action. Haw. Rev. Statute. _ 65211. Every garnishee shall be allowed $3 in cases in the circuit courts and $1 in cases in the district courts for filing a return on or before the return day or for appearance on the return day, as the case may be, and, in special or exceptional cases in which the court may deem proper, such further sums as the court may deem reasonable for counsel fees and other necessary expenses. The allowance for return or appearance of the garnishee shall be deposited with the clerk of the court in order to hold for the garnishee and shall be paid to the garnishee when the garnishee makes the garnishee’s return and files the same in court or when the garnishee makes the garnishee’s appearance in court.

The garnishee, if discharged, may collect from the plaintiff on execution any unpaid allowances or, if held, may retain the same out of goods, effects, or credits of the defendant in the garnishee’s hands. As between the plaintiff and defendant, if the garnishee is discharged, the costs of the garnishment proceeding, including $1 for each copy of summons and $1 for each service of summons, shall be taxed against the plaintiff; but, if the garnishee is held, such costs and all such allowances as have been paid by the plaintiff to the garnishee shall be taxed against the defendant. Haw. Rev. Statute. _ 65213.

Interest Rate at which Judgments AccrueAt the rate of ten percent a year, and no more, shall be allowed on any judgment recovered before any court in the Statutee, in any civil suit. Haw. Rev. Statute. _ 4782. Applicable Forms 1 Service of the copy upon the garnishee may be made in any of the manners here described, namely:

(1) If the garnishee lives or has an office in the district in which process is issued, by the serving officer’s handing a copy to the garnishee in person or leaving it in the garnishee’s office in charge of some deputy or clerk or other employees or attache of the office; or

(2) If the garnishee lives in a district other than that in which the process was issued, by the serving officer’s handing a copy to the garnishee in person, or by mailing it in a sealed envelope, registered or certified, postage prepaid, return receipt requested, and addressed to the garnishee’s last known home or business address. Haw. Rev. Statute. _ 6522.5. 2

The term “garnishee fund” includes the goods and effects of the defendant then in the hands of the garnishee, any debt then owing from the garnishee to the defendant, moneys of the defendant then in the possession of the garnishee for safekeeping, and a portion of the defendant’s wages, salary, stipend, commissions, annuity, or net income under a trust, remaining after the deduction of any amounts required by law. Haw. Rev. Statute. _ 6521.

 
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