What Does "Garnishment" Mean?

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In a broad sense, you may be familiar with the term “garnishment,” but you may not know what it means in a legal sense. If you’re working to familiarize yourself with language regarding debt collection, garnishment is an important term to know.

Garnishment Simplified

Garnishment is a court order that states that money or collateral from a third party can be taken in order to satisfy a debt. This most often occurs in the form of wage garnishment, which a court may order in certain cases where a defendant needs to pay a creditor.

For example, if someone owes a debt, refuses to pay, and goes to court, the judge may order wage garnishment. Some of the debtor’s paycheck will be deducted each pay period until the debt is fully paid off.

Garnishment and the FDCPA

A third-party collector may threaten to garnish your wages if you don’t pay for a debt. Please note that there’s no reason to pay on a debt that is either old or already paid off, but an unscrupulous third-party collector may try to collect on these types of debts anyway. Threatening to garnish wages is illegal under the FDCPA, which means that the third-party collector who is harassing you has opened himself up to a lawsuit.

If you find yourself in this situation with a third-party collector, familiarize yourself with the FDCPA and contact an FDCPA attorney. You don’t deserve to be threatened with wage garnishment, and an experienced FDCPA attorney can fight on your behalf.