A wage garnishment is also known by the term "writ of garnishment" and is an order granted to a creditor by a court. It orders an employer to garnish the wages of the defendant by a specified amount each paycheck.

A writ of garnishment is only granted after the plaintiff (usually a creditor) has filed suit to recover a debt and received a favorable judgement. It can't be granted without a judgement, as every American is guaranteed the right to due process.

So unless your creditor has sued you and won, your employer won't have received such a writ;however, many debtors don't realize they've been sued in the first place, or don't know how to stop a suit once they find out about it. If the suit goes through successfully, your employer will receive the court order.

A wage garnishment states the amount to be garnished from a person's paycheck and provides instructions as to where the amount taken from the paycheck should be sent. If your employer receives a writ of garnishment, they have no choice but to do as they've been instructed, no matter how much they may want to refuse.

An employer who refuses to do as the writ orders could face serious legal trouble since they're disobeying the order of a court of law. Penalties for not complying generally include monetary fines, but in some extreme cases, could even include imprisonment.

So if you're wages are being garnished, or if they're about to be, you shouldn't blame it on your employer or try to get them to stop it. Instead, come see our bankruptcy attorneys to find out how we may be able to stop the wage garnishment.

Jason C. Amerine
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President and Owner, Castle Law Office of Kansas City