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What Steps Do Creditors Need to Follow to Garnish a Debtor’s Wages?

 Posted on October 13, 2022 in Debt Collection

IL debt collection lawyerCreditors have multiple options for collecting the debts owed to them, and one of the most powerful ways of doing so is through wage garnishment. This is a legal process whereby a creditor can require an employer to withhold a portion of a debtor’s wages and pay that money directly to the creditor. Wage garnishment can be a very effective way of collecting a debt following a legal judgment, but there are certain steps that creditors need to follow in order to make wage garnishment happen.

Wage Deduction Proceedings

A creditor may seek to garnish a debtor's wages after obtaining a legal judgment against the debtor. This judgment will show that the debtor owes a certain amount to the creditor and that the creditor has the right to collect the debt. To begin the wage garnishment process, a creditor must first provide a Wage Deduction Notice to the debtor. This notice will state the name and address of the debtor, the name and address of their employer, the amount of the judgment, and the return date. If the debtor wishes to dispute the wage deduction because they believe their income is exempt, they must request a hearing prior to the return date. The Wage Deduction Notice can be sent to the debtor through first-class mail.

After the Wage Deduction Notice has been sent to the debtor, the creditor will file a Wage Deduction Affidavit with the court stating that they have the right to collect debts from the debtor's employer. A copy of the affidavit will be sent to the employer along with interrogatories that will be used to establish the wages the debtor earns and the amount that can be deducted from their pay.

Along with the interrogatories, the employer will also be served a summons that informs them of when they will be required to respond and the date that the case will be heard in court. If an employer responds to the interrogatories and provides the required information, they will generally not be required to appear in court, and the Wage Deduction Order can be issued. However, if an employer fails to respond, or if they file a No Funds Answer stating that they no longer employ the debtor or that the debtor does not have sufficient income for wage garnishment, the employer may be required to appear in court for a hearing to determine whether a Wage Deduction Order can be issued. If an employer fails to respond or appear at the hearing, a conditional judgment may be issued against the employer that will require them to pay the full amount owed to the creditor.

Most of the time, employers will respond to interrogatories and provide the proper information that will allow a Wage Deduction Order to be issued. A Wage Deduction Order may require an employer to deduct 15 percent of the debtor's non-exempt gross wages from each paycheck they receive and pay this amount to the creditor. However, if the debtor has an existing wage garnishment order, such as for payments of child support or spousal support, these amounts will first be deducted from the 15 percent that is deducted, and the remaining amount will be paid to the creditor.

Contact Our Chicago Wage Garnishment Lawyers

If you are a creditor looking to garnish the wages of debtors, Dimand Walinski Law Offices, P.C. can help you complete this process as smoothly as possible. We can ensure that you follow the correct steps when giving notice to debtors, filing wage deduction affidavits, and sending interrogatories and summons to employers. If necessary, we can provide you with representation in court to ensure that you will be able to collect the debts owed. Contact our Chicago debt collection attorneys today at 312-704-0771 to schedule a consultation and learn how we can help you.



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