Domesticate Foreign State Wage Garnishment?

What about a domestication of a foreign state wage garnishment?  Can I?  Should I?  If so, then how?

From time to time I have implemented wage garnishments to gain money owed to me by my judgment debtors.  In some of these situations the employer of my judgment debtor has been located outside of the state where my judgment was issued.  In some cases my judgment debtor physically worked outside of the state.  In other situations, he worked inside the same state, but the employer was located in another state.

Realise that laws and rules about wage garnishment are diverse in the different states that even allow wage garnishment.  It would be wise to consult the garnishment laws that apply in the state in question.  You can access garnishment laws by state by following this link. 

What I write here is not to be construed as legal or professional advice for anyone else in their particular situation.  I can only advise you to consult the laws, applicable rules of court, and seek the assistance of a good judgment attorney.  Nevertheless, I will share my practical experience.

I have found that most employers are aware of the existence of wage garnishments, where this post judgment enforcement remedy is allowed.  Therefore they usually don’t balk at following the garnishment order when they receive it.  I have found that most foreign state employers as garnishees will automatically obey a wage garnishment order that originates from out of state, just the same as they do for one originating in the same state.  The staff that processes payroll and handles things like wage garnishments for an employer typically do not question the garnishment order.  I believe that they are so used to responding properly to in-state wage garnishments, that they treat an out of state garnishment with the same respect as to its authority.

If my judgment debtor and his employer don’t question the validity of my wage garnishment then I assume that the proper amount of money will be calculated and withheld as the documents instruct.

It honestly has not been a problem for me.  Having an out of state employment situation facing me with regards to wage garnishments has worked out fine for me.  I have not had to consider having to domesticate my judgments into the other state.  I know my personal experience does not include every state and every employer.  But, that has been my experience.  To be honest, as long as I ultimately get my judgment money, I am more than happy to not have my wage garnishment situations overly complicated with foreign state jurisdictional issues.  Whether to domesticate my judgment or not doesn’t even enter my thinking.

Hey, the bottom line is the bottom line, isn’t it?  I get my money, and I am satisfied.

This has been my opinion and my experience.  I hope it encourages you.

You might want to check this other article about the subject of discovering a judgment debtor’s employer so that a wage garnishment can be commenced.  Click here to go there.


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Garnishee Fails to Pay

A reader of this blog sent us a message wanting to know about a situation where a garnishee fails to pay money or fails to turn over property belonging to a judgment debtor.  This is a very common situation.  It can be quite frustrating for a judgment creditor when the garnishee fails to pay as ordered.

The creditor will probably be scratching his or her head wondering what to do about this.  The exact answer will depend on the law and rules of the state or jurisdiction involved.  What to do in Idaho will likely be different than what to do in Arkansas or Vermont.

The options of how to respond to a stubborn garnishee may vary, but there is generally a good solid way to pursue the garnishee in these situations.

In a number of states the garnishor should file a motion with the court for the garnishee’s failure to obey the order of garnishment.  It is generally possible to bring the garnishee before the court to answer for his failure to submit the required payment.  If indeed the court decides that the garnishee failed to obey the order of garnishment, then there are penalties that he may face.  Once again, these what these penalties are may vary by the local laws, rules, and the volition of the court.

The garnishee may face a fine, may be charged with contempt, may be liable to pay the entire amount of the judgment debt, may be ordered to pay court costs and attorney’s fees for the garnishor.  It certainly would not hurt my feelings if the garnishee was ordered to pay me the entire judgment debt for his failure to turn over garnished funds.

Everyone who gets stiffed by a garnishee would do well to research their options by seeking legal counsel or researching the applicable laws and rules themselves.  One way or another the judgment creditor deserves to be paid.

Garnishee Paying Judgment Money

Don’t fail to collect what is legally yours to collect!


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Garnishment Definitions for Judgment Enforcer

We realize that some of us are laymen when it comes to collecting our judgments.  Because of this fact, some of us are still a little confused as to some of the basic words and terminologies relating to enforcing our judgments.  For this reason, we have decided to post a simple article which clarifies our understanding about some of these definitions.  This post will focus on terms related to garnishment definitions for judgment enforcers.  We will be using definitions which are our own.  You might want to check other sources for the legal definitions of these words.

The words or terms which we think will be most helpful are the following:  Garnish, Bank Levy, Wage Garnishment, Garnishor, and Garnishee.

  • Garnish – This verb refers to the act of seizing property held by a third party, for the express purpose of collecting a legal debt.
  • Bank Levy – This is another common term used synonymously with “bank garnishment”.
  • Wage Garnishment – This is a legal process for seizing wages of an employee from his or her employer in order for the wages to be redirected towards payment of a judgment debt.
  • Garnishee – This refers to the third party person or entity that is holding money owed to a debtor, and from which they are legally seized to pay a judgment debt.  Common examples of a garnishee would be a bank or debtor’s employer.
  • Garnishor – This is the creditor, in our case a judgment creditor, who files a garnishment action to seize money which will be used as payment of a money judgment debt.

As you can easily understand, there are three primary parties to a garnishment execution.  The garnishor is the creditor or party executing the garnishment action.  The garnishee is the party being required to turn over money, or assets belonging to the judgment debtor, and is the party responsible to hand it over to either the creditor or designated court official.  Lastly, the judgment debtor is the party whose money or assets are being seized or turned over.

Laws and rules controlling garnishment procedures vary from state to state and in some instances from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.  We are cautious to follow those laws and rules as they apply for a particular situation.  When in doubt, we don’t hesitate to consult with a qualified judgment attorney.

You can find garnishment laws for all 50 states by accessing the links below.

  1. Alabama Alaska Arkansas
  2. Arizona California Colorado
  3. Connecticut Delaware District of Columbia
  4. Florida Georgia Hawaii
  5. Idaho Illinois Indiana
  6. Iowa Kansas Kentucky
  7. Louisiana Maine Maryland
  8. Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota
  9. Mississippi Missouri Montana
  10. Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire
  11. New Jersey New Mexico New York
  12. North Carolina North Dakota Ohio
  13. Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania
  14. Rhode Island South Carolina South Dakota
  15. Tennessee Texas Utah
  16. Vermont Virginia Washington
  17. West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming

We hope this has been helpful and informative for you.  Garnishment definitions for judgment enforcers is essential information when considering whether garnishment is a viable option to employ when collecting a money judgment.


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