As a tax attorney, one of the most frequently asked questions I receive is about garnishment orders. Besides what they are, people always want to know whether their boss has to honor a garnishment order? The simple answer is “yes.” But, to get a better understanding of a garnishment order, I’ve collected the information below.
Writ of Garnishment
A “writ of garnishment” is a garnishment order. When an employee has an unpaid debt, a creditor can ask the court to order the garnishment of a person’s wages. Government agencies can also issue a garnishment order for federally-backed student loans or taxes. When the government proceeds with a garnishment order, they do not have to go through the courts.
When your employer receives the writ of garnishment, they need to submit a statutory response. In general, an employer signs the form which states they agree to withhold funds from an employee’s paycheck. The statutory response needs to go back to the agency or court that issued it within seven days. Even if there are extenuating circumstances, the employer is legally required to submit the form within seven days.
Employers Must Withhold Earnings
If an employer receives a garnishment order, they need to start withholding earnings from an employee’s paycheck. A garnishment goes into effect immediately upon receipt. The person that is having their earnings withheld also receives a copy of the order and has a certain number of days to contest the order.
If a garnishment is contested, the employer stops paying the creditor and sends the money to the court or agency that originally issued the garnishment. The funds will be held at the court or agency until the dispute is resolved.
If your employer receives a garnishment order, they must adhere to the requirements. If your employer did not follow the garnishment order, they could face legal ramifications. On top of legal issues for your employer, the unpaid debt, which triggered the garnishment order in the first place would still have to be handled.