What does garnishing / garnishment of wages or accounts mean? Under what circumstances does it happen and what are the implications?


A garnishment is a diversion of payments or property from a debtor to a creditor, before the debtor ever sees the money.

For example: I have a debtor. So I get a court order for a garnishment on the debtor's wages (or accounts) from a duly authorized court. This compels the debtor to make involuntary repayments of his/her debts.

Now getting a wage garnishment is a pretty drastic measure.

Also, it can be done via escrow as a provisional remedy, that is, before the court case settles. This is a good approach, because it protects the creditor's interest in the debtor's property. Property that is garnished before the case settles is held in escrow until the court finds in favor of the creditor.

Prejudgment garnishment is usually ordered by a court only when the creditor can show that the debtor is likely to lose or dispose of the property before the case is resolved. So you're talking a pretty expensive lawyer here.

  • Is the 'e' on the end another spelling? I don't want to correct that if I am wrong. – MrChrister Feb 24 '10 at 2:17
  • I think garnishe is commonwealth english vs US english there. – Tim Williscroft Feb 25 '10 at 1:21
  • Nope, the UK English of 'garnish' is 'garnish'. I think it's just a typo. – DJClayworth Dec 8 '10 at 15:46
  • AFAIK The thing is a garnishe (pronounced garnish-eh) The action is garnishment/ing.Garnish is herbs on a soup – Tim Williscroft Dec 10 '10 at 0:08
  • 1
    Google suggests that "garnishment" is the appropriate word to use here, as per @Feral Oink's edit. – GS - Apologise to Monica Dec 19 '11 at 20:01

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