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Finding Legal Help

You are not required to hire an attorney, but legal matters can be complicated. Consider talking to an attorney to go over your options. See the Finding Legal Help page for information about free and low cost ways to get legal help. 

Como encontrar ayuda legal

Usted no está obligado a contratar un abogado, pero los asuntos legales pueden ser complicados. Considere la posibilidad de hablar con un abogado para hablar de sus opciones. Para información sobre cómo obtener ayuda legal vea nuestra página Como encontrar ayuda legal.

How to Apply for a Writ of Garnishment

If a court decides one person owes someone else money, it will enter a judgment. The judgment will say who owes the money, to whom it is owed and how much.

One way to collect the money owed is through a writ of garnishment. This is an order requiring third parties holding the debtor's property (such as an employer or a bank) to send the money to the creditor. Writs of Garnishment are governed by Utah Rule of Civil Procedure 64D.

  • If someone owes you money under a judgment you are a creditor or judgment creditor. This web page has information about the process for asking for a writ of garnishment, and forms.
  • If you owe someone money under a judgment you are a debtor or judgment debtor. See the Garnishment and Debtor's Rights web page for information about your rights if your property is being garnished.
  • If you are the third party who has the debtor's property, you are the garnishee. The Writ of Garnishment orders the garnishee to send the property to the creditor. The Responsibilities of Garnishees web page has information about your responsibilities.

Garnishment

If you win a judgment, you have several ways to collect your money. One option is garnishment.

There are two kinds of writs of garnishment:

  • Writs of Continuing Garnishment - used to garnish earnings (wages)
  • Writs of Garnishment - used to garnish other property, (like a bank account)

Confirm ownership of property

Before serving a Writ of Garnishment, you must make sure the property to be garnished is actually belongs to the debtor.

If you do not, and the property is not the debtor's, you can be liable to the actual owner for up to $1000. Utah Code Section 78A-2-216.

If you are trying to garnish the debtor's wages, first confirm the debtor's employment. Mail or hand deliver the following forms to the employer and to the debtor (or their attorney, if they have one):

  • Request for Verification of Employment form
  • Response to Request for Verification of Employment form, with just the court and case information filled out
  • Judgment Information Statement
  • Copy of judgment

Except for the judgment, these forms can be found in the Forms section. Contact the court to get a copy of the judgment.

The employer must mail or hand deliver their completed Response to Request for Verification of Employment to you and the debtor within 10 days of receiving the request.

If you are trying to garnish the debtor's other property (like a bank account) and you need to confirm their ownership, you can send the debtor questions they must answer under oath. See the Identifying the Judgment Debtor's Property web page for information and forms before continuing with the garnishment process.

Utah Code 78A-2-216.


Applying for the Writ of Garnishment

Once you have confirmed the debtor's employment or ownership of the property, you can ask the court for a Writ of Garnishment. Pay the filing fee and file these documents with the court:

  • Application for Writ of Garnishment
    • Choose Writ of Continuing Garnishment to garnish wages
    • Choose Writ of Garnishment to garnish other property
  • Writ of Garnishment
    • Choose Writ of Continuing Garnishment and Instructions form to garnish wages. Fill out the top part, including the garnishee's name and address and the case information - 2 copies.
    • Choose Writ of Garnishment and Instructions form to garnish other property. Fill out the top part, including the garnishee's name and address and the case information - 2 copies.
  • Garnishee's Answers
    • Choose Garnishees Answers to Interrogatories for Earnings form to garnish wages
    • Choose Garnishee's Answers to Interrogatories for Property to garnish other property
  • Notice of Garnishment and Exemptions form.
  • Reply and Request for Hearing form - 2 copies.
  • A check payable to the garnishee for their fee. See Utah Code section 78A-2-216 for the fee amount.
  • A check payable to the sheriff or constable for the service fee, unless the fee has been waived by the court.

The forms are available in the Forms section below.

The clerk's office staff will sign both copies of the Writs. One copy will be filed in the court's records.

Have the sheriff, constable, or private investigator serve the following documents on the garnishee:

  • Writ of Continuing Garnishment and Instructions or Writ of Garnishment and Instructions
  • Garnishee's Answers to Interrogatories
  • Notice of Garnishment and Exemptions
  • Reply and Request for Hearing
  • A check payable to the garnishee for their fee

The writ must be served by a sheriff, constable, or private investigator. Utah Code 78B-8-302. The person who serves the documents should provide you with proof of service after they have served the papers. File the proof of service with the court.

Mail or hand deliver these documents to the debtor (or their attorney, if they have one):

  • Application for Writ of Garnishment
  • Writ of Continuing Garnishment and Instructions or Writ of Garnishment and Instructions
  • Garnishee's Answers to Interrogatories
  • Notice of Garnishment and Exemptions
  • Reply and Request for Hearing

If there is more than one garnishee, or if someone other than the debtor claims an interest in the debtor's property, the creditor must complete a separate set of forms, including checks for fees, for each.


What happens next

Once the garnishee receives the property they are required to withhold the property from the debtor and wait 21 days. The debtor can then:

  • File a Reply and Request for Hearing, challenging the garnishment. The court will then set a hearing.
  • Do nothing - the garnishee should send you the property after 21 days.

Duration of Writs of Continuing Garnishment

A writ of continuing garnishment is effective for one year after the date it was served, or for 120 calendar days if another writ of continuing garnishment is served. Within 7 business days after the close of each pay period occurring within the term of continuing garnishment, the garnishee must:

  • Complete the Garnishee's Answers to Interrogatories form, and
  • serve a copy of the Garnishee's Answers to Interrogatories on you or your attorney (if you have one), and on the debtor or their attorney (if they have one), and on any other person who has an interest in the property.

Multiple Writs

Multiple writs of garnishment for the same debtor may be served on the garnishee, but only one writ of garnishment may be in effect at one time. The garnishee must satisfy the writs in the order in which they are served. When an earlier Writ of Garnishment expires or is paid off, the garnishee must then satisfy the next writ.

However, a Writ of Continuing Garnishment in favor of the Office of Recovery Services or the Department of Workforce Services takes priority over other writs and must be paid first.

A Writ of Continuing Garnishment in favor of the Office of Recovery Services or the Department of Workforce Services continues until fully paid, placing earlier writs on hold. These instructions do not apply to writs or orders entered by other courts or governmental agencies.


Motion to enforce writ of garnishment (order to show cause)

If you have served the Writ of Garnishment on the garnishee and the time has passed for the garnishee to comply with the writ and they have not done so, you may file a motion with the court asking to enforce the writ of garnishment.

You must first try to settle the issue without court action by making a good faith effort to discuss issue with the garnishee.

If that effort is unsuccessful, you can ask the court to order the garnishee to come to a hearing to explain why they should not be held in contempt of court.

If the court finds the garnishee in contempt of court, the court can punish them by ordering them to pay:

  • up to $1000 in fines and serve up to 30 days in jail (district court);
  • up to $500 in fines and serve up to 5 days in jail (justice court);
  • the full amount of the judgment, court costs, and attorney's fees.

The Motion to Enforce Writ of Garnishment must be served on the garnishee by a sheriff, constable, or private investigator.


Forms


To verify the debtor's employment

  • Request for Verification of Employment - PDF | Word
  • Judgment information Statement - PDF | Word
  • Response to Request for Verification of Employment - PDF | Word

To garnish the debtor's wages

  • Application for Writ of Garnishment - PDF | Word
  • Writ of Continuing Garnishment and Instructions - PDF | Word
  • Garnishee's Answers to Interrogatories for Earnings - PDF | Word
  • Notice of Garnishment and Exemptions - PDF | Word
  • Reply and Request for Hearing (2 copies) - PDF | Word

To garnish the debtor's other personal property

  • Application for Writ of Garnishment - PDF | Word
  • Writ of Garnishment and Instructions - PDF | Word
  • Garnishee's Answers to Interrogatories for Property other than Earnings - PDF | Word
  • Notice of Garnishment and Exemptions - PDF | Word
  • Reply and Request for Hearing (2 copies) - PDF | Word

To request that the garnishee be held in contempt of court for failure to follow the Writ of Garnishment

  • Motion to Enforce Writ of Garnishment - PDF | Word
  • Order to Garnishee to Appear and Explain Failure to Comply with Writ of Garnishment - PDF | Word

Related Information

The Utah State Courts mission is to provide the people an open, fair, efficient, and independent system for the advancement of justice under the law.


Page Last Modified: 5/6/2019
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