What is a Non-Continuing Garnishment?
Have you ever been owed money and had to file a judgment with the courts to collect on it? There are various methods of collection, such as, wage garnishments, liens on property, or a writ of execution. However, there is another way to adequately collect on your judgment, and that is through non-continuing garnishments, or in other words a bank levy. In this article we will discuss what a non-continuing garnishment is, how to collect on one, exemptions applied to them, and your best options regarding your circumstance.
A common method of collection is a continuing garnishment of wages. This allows you as the judgment-creditor to contact the debtor’s employer and require they send a portion earned each pay period to you. Non-continuing garnishments are different in the sense that you as the judgment-creditor can contact the financial institution of the debtor and have non-exempt funds applied to the judgment debt in your favor. The process for levying bank accounts and what amounts a debtor can claim as exempt from the levy, is regulated by state law.
How to Collect on a Non-Continuing Garnishment in Oklahoma
Once a creditor receives a judgment against the debtor, numerous methods of collection are given by state law. A judgment allows the court to declare the creditor the legal right to collect on the debt owed.
Oklahoma state Statute, O.S. 12 § 21-1173 states,
“A. Any judgment creditor may obtain a noncontinuing lien on earnings. For the purposes of this section, “earnings” means any form of payment to an individual including, but not limited to, salary, commission, or other compensation, but does not include reimbursements for travel expenses for state employees.
B. A noncontinuing earnings garnishment shall be commenced by filing the affidavit provided for by Section 1172 of this title.
C. The form for the summons required by this section shall be prescribed by the Administrative Office of the Courts.
D. The summons shall be served upon the garnishee, together with a copy of the judgment creditor’s affidavit, a garnishee’s answer form, notice of garnishment and request for hearing, and claim for exemptions, in the manner provided for in Section 2004 of this title and shall be returned with proof of service within ten (10) days of its date.
E. The garnishee’s answer shall be on a form prescribed by the Administrative Office of the Courts.”
Under federal law, garnishments of Social Security or pension benefits is not allowed.
Exemptions to Non-Continuing Garnishments
Judgment debtors are able to claim exemptions from each type of continuing or non-continuing garnishments. A common exemption is undue hardship to the debtor’s family or dependent(s) if a garnishment were to be in effect. The following are factors in Oklahoma courts when determining undue hardship:
- Income and expenses of the debtor’s family and dependents.
- Debtor’s standard of living
- Debtor’s standard of living in comparison to the minimal survival needs of their family and dependents
- Debtor’s standard of living in comparison to the minimal survival standards in the community regarding basic shelter, food, clothing, personal necessities, and transportation
Furthermore, the court is the one to determine the debtor’s and dependent(s) circumstances of undue hardship and determine the basis of exemption for the garnishment. The process is the same for non-continuing garnishments as continuing, with additional exceptions such as:
- Social Security benefits
- Supplemental security income
- Unemployment benefits
- Workmen’s compensation benefits
- Welfare benefits
- Veteran’s benefits
- Certain classes of pension
- Retirement fund
- Disability benefits
- Civil service survivor annuities
- Prepaid burial benefits
- Proceeds of group-life insurance policies
- Alimony, support, separate maintenance, or child support payments necessary for the support of the judgment-debtor’s dependent(s)
If you are in pursuit of a judgment, the collection process, or need to better understand your choices, contact Aaron Bruner, Attorney at Law today to discuss the best fit for your situation.