What is a Garnishment?

What is a Garnishment?

Dec 16, 2022

A garnishment is an order from the court that requires a third party in control of the Judgment Debtor’s money to pay the Judgment Creditor. A garnishment is a step in the collection process of a judgment. This method is essentially a way for the Judgment Creditor to intercept the money that is going toward the Judgment Debtor. This practice is a good way to collect on a judgment and allows a more reliable approach in receiving your debt compensation. Oklahoma State Statute 12 O.S. § 21-1171 states,

  • “A. Any creditor shall be entitled to proceed by garnishment in any court having jurisdiction against any person whom the creditor, in good faith, believes to be indebted to the creditor’s debtor or has possession or control of any property belonging to such creditor’s debtor, in the cases, upon the conditions, and in the manner described by law.
  • B. Subject to the limitations and exceptions otherwise provided by law, there shall be two classes of garnishments:
  • 1. Prejudgment garnishments, which shall consist only of general garnishments pursuant to Section 1173.3 of this title; and
  • 2. Post judgment garnishments, which shall consist of the following types of garnishments:
  • a. income assignment for child support pursuant to the provisions of Section 1171.2 of this title,
  • b. noncontinuing earnings garnishment pursuant to Section 1173 of this title,
  • c. garnishment for collection of child support pursuant to Section 1173.2 of this title,
  • d. general garnishment pursuant to Section 1173.3 of this title, and
  • e. continuing earnings garnishment pursuant to Section 1173.4 of this title.”

How to Collect on a Judgment with Garnishments

There are two steps to collect on a judgment through garnishing assets which are to request a Garnishment Summons and a Garnishment Affidavit.

When collecting on a continuing or noncontinuing garnishment both are to be initiated by filing a Garnishment Affidavit and Summons through the Administrative Office of the Courts. The Garnishment Affidavit states who the parties are and the balance of the Judgment. The affidavit states that the Debtor maintain an account with a financial institution and to identify a specified financial institution or bank. After filing the Garnishment Affidavit, the Judgment Creditor can then request the court clerk to issue a Summons. This summons directs the banks to file a written response within 10 days to the court that states whether they are holding any of the Debtor’s financials. The garnishment of wages works accordingly with the Debtor’s employer, initiating wages to the Judgment Creditor.

What are the different types of Garnishments?

There are two different types of garnishments: continuing and noncontinuing.

A continuing garnishment is for example a wage garnishment. A Judgment Creditor can request the court issue a continuing garnishment to the Debtor’s employer, therefore making the funds deliverable to the Judgment Creditor.

A noncontinuing garnishment is for example a bank levy. A Judgment Creditor can request the court issue a noncontinuing garnishment on the financial institution that is acquiring the Debtor’s funds.

Although garnishing bank accounts and wages are common, there are other types of garnishing methods as well. Garnishments are the interceptors of a third-party’s obligation to a debtor; therefore, a Judgment Creditor can intercept in several different contexts.

There are some limitations when garnishing a judgment. Oklahoma State Statute 14A O.S. § 5-105 states,

  • “1) For the purpose of this part
  • (a) “disposable earnings” means that part of the earnings of an individual remaining after the deduction from those earnings of amounts required by law to be withheld; and
  • (b) “garnishment” means any legal or equitable procedure through which the earnings of an individual are required to be withheld for payment of a debt.
  • (2) The maximum part of the aggregate disposable earnings of an individual for any workweek which is subjected to garnishment to enforce payment of a judgment arising from a consumer credit sale, consumer lease, or consumer loan may not exceed the lesser of
  • (a) twenty-five percent (25%) of his disposable earnings for that week; or
  • (b) the amount by which his disposable earnings for that week exceed thirty times the federal minimum hourly wage prescribed by Section 6(a) (1) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, U.S.C. Title 29, Section 206 [29-206](a)
  • (1), in effect at the time the earnings are payable.
  • (c) in the case of earnings for a pay period other than a week, the Administrator shall by rule prescribe a multiple of the federal minimum hourly wage equivalent in effect to that set forth in paragraph (b).
  • (3) No court may make, execute, or enforce an order or process in violation of this section.” These limitations are set to allow the Debtor to retain part of their “disposable earnings” and no more than 25% of that will be garnished.

Conclusion

Collecting on a judgment can be strenuous. If you are seeking implementing a garnishment on collecting your judgment you may want to hire an attorney for assistance with the process. Call Aaron Bruner, Attorney at Law today to assess your situation and figure out the best next steps for you.

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