What is a “Writ of Garnishment”?
A creditor can file a lawsuit against a debtor. If the lawsuit is successful this is called a judgement. The judgement is a legal document stating that the debtor does, in fact, owe the creditor money. A judgement does not guarantee the debtor will pay the debt, only that the court has confirmed that the debt is legally owing to the creditor.
A “writ of garnishment” is a court order to seize property, wages and/or income. A creditor must obtain a Writ of Garnishment (also called a ‘Garnishment Order’) and serves it to the debtor’s employer. The employer then garnishes wages (percentage of wage depends on the judgement). Those wages are sent to the court and the court delivers the sum to the creditor.
One issue with wage garnishment to consider is that the debtor needs to be earning an income in order to garnish wages. In addition, there are instances when wages/income can not be garnished. For example, disability, welfare and unemployment.
If a debtor decides to file for bankruptcy or consumer proposal, the “writ of garnishment” will no longer be enforced.
See “Writ of Execution” for more details.
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