To garnish is to take property, most often a portion of someone's salary, by legal authority.
Garnishment is a proceeding by a creditor to collect a debt through the property or assets of the debtor.
The person instituting the proceeding is referred to as the creditor or plaintiff, the person indebted to the creditor is the debtor or defendant.
The person holding the property of, or who is indebted to, is the defendant is the garnishee. Any person can be subject to garnishment.
To collect money owed, the plaintiff must first obtain a final judgment or order against the defendant in court. For more information on filing a claim see the “How Do I” section of the home page. A garnishment proceeding determines whether the debtor has any assets that can be used to satisfy a judgment. Once a judgment has been filed the creditor can go about collecting what is owed.
There are 2 types of collection that involve garnishment: 1) garnishment of wages and 2) garnishment of property and assets, such as bank accounts.
Assets Free From Garnishment
A garnishment can not be made against property held jointly by husband and wife, unless both are judgment debtors or the property was established after the date of entry of judgment. This is the same for partnerships. Other assets that are protected from garnishment include most federal benefits.
Defenses by Garnishee
A garnishee can contest the garnishment and must file the appropriate motion with the Court.