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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.

Responsibilities of Garnishees

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. The How to apply for a Writ of Garnishment 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 is holding the debtor's property, you are the garnishee. The Writ of Garnishment orders you to send the property to the creditor. This web page has information about your responsibilities.

Responding to a Request for Verification of Employment

Before sending you a writ of garnishment a creditor might contact you to verify the debtor's employment. You are required to answer a written request within 10 days if you are served with the following:

  • Request for Verification of Employment
  • Copy of the judgment
  • Judgment Information Statement

Your answer must indicate whether or not the debtor is a current employee. Utah Code 78A-2-216.

Responding to a Writ of Garnishment

If you are a garnishee (or work for one) and have been served with a Writ of Continuing Garnishment, carefully read the writ and its instructions.

There are two kinds of writs of garnishment:

  • Writs of Continuing Garnishment - used to garnish earnings (wages)
  • Writs of Garnishment - used to garnish property such as a bank account

You should have received a payment for the garnishee fee. See Utah Code section 78A-2-216 for the fee amount. If you did not receive the fee, sign the Writ of Continuing Garnishment in the space provided and return the forms to the creditor.

If you did receive the fee, complete the Garnishee's Answer to Interrogatories. These are written questions that identify the property and the value of the property that might be used to pay the debt.

If you are an employer of the debtor, you can use the Online Court Assistance Program (OCAP) to calculate the amount to be withheld and prepare the Garnishee's Answers to Interrogatories. If you are not an employer of the debtor, or if you do not want to use OCAP, you can use the fill-in-the-blank Garnishee's Answers to Interrogatories you were served. These are available in the Forms section below. Be sure to choose the right form based on the writ you received.

You must complete the Answers to Interrogatories and mail or hand deliver a copy to the creditor within 7 business days.

Within 7 business days you must also mail or hand deliver the documents below to the debtor and anyone else who might have an interest in the property:

  • Writ of Continuing Garnishment
  • Garnishee's Answer to Interrogatories
  • Notice of Garnishment and Exemptions form
  • Reply and Request for Hearing form - 2 copies

What to do with the property

Do not send the withheld property to the court.

  • Withhold from the debtor the amount shown in the Garnishee's Answers to Interrogatories.
  • Serve the debtor and anyone else who might have an interest in the property.
  • Wait 21 days.
    • If you receive a Reply and Request for Hearing within 21 days, hold the property until you receive further orders from the court directing you how to proceed.
    • If you do not receive a Reply and Request for Hearing within 21 days, deliver the property to the creditor or their attorney (if they have one).

If you do not receive a Reply and Request for Hearing after the initial 21 days, send the property to the creditor or their attorney.

If you received a Writ of Continuing Garnishment you must complete the Garnishee's Answers to Interrogatories within 7 business days after the close of each pay period. Do not wait 21 days more than once - send the property to the judgment creditor.

Duration of Writ

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.

You must comply with the writ until it expires or until the judgment creditor tells you the debt is paid.

Multiple Writs

Multiple writs of garnishment for the same debtor may be served on you, but only one writ of garnishment may be in effect at one time. You must comply with the writs in the order in which you receive them. Once an earlier Writ of Garnishment expires or is paid off, comply with the next writ.

However, you must prioritize a Writ of Continuing Garnishment in favor of the Office of Recovery Services or the Department of Workforce Services over other writs.

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.

Penalties for not complying with a Writ of Garnishment

If you do not comply with the Writ of Garnishment, the creditor may file a motion with the court asking to enforce the writ. This might be called a motion for order to show cause.

The creditor must first try to settle the issue with you in good faith.

If they cannot settle with you, the creditor can ask the court to order you to come to a hearing to explain why you should not be held in contempt of court.

If the court finds you in contempt of court, the court can punish you by ordering you 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 you by a sheriff,  constable or private investigator. Utah Code 78B-8-302.

Forms


To answer a Request for Verification of Employment

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

To answer a Writ of Continuing Garnishment

  • Use OCAP, the Online Court Assistance Program

or

  • Garnishee's Answers to Interrogatories for Earnings - PDF | Word

To answer a Writ of Garnishment

  • Use OCAP, the Online Court Assistance Program

or

  • Garnishee's Answers to Interrogatories for Property other than Earnings - 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: 4/24/2019
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