what is a garnishee order

What is a Garnishee Order?

A garnishee order is a legal directive issued by a court that allows a creditor to collect money owed to them directly from a third party who owes money to the debtor. This third party is typically the debtor’s employer or a bank where the debtor holds an account.

How Does It Work?

When a creditor obtains a garnishee order, they serve it to the third party holding the debtor’s funds. This could be the debtor’s employer or a bank. The order compels the third party to withhold a certain amount of money from the debtor’s wages or accounts and remit it directly to the creditor.

A garnishee order effectively bypasses the debtor and allows the creditor to collect what is owed to them directly from the source. This can be especially useful in cases where the debtor is avoiding payment, as it puts pressure on the third party to comply with the court order.

what is a garnishee order

Why Would a Garnishee Order be Issued?

A garnishee order is typically issued when a debtor has failed to pay their debts and has not responded to other attempts to collect payment. Before resorting to a garnishee order, the creditor usually tries other methods to recover the debt, such as sending demand letters or seeking a court judgment.

If these attempts are unsuccessful, the creditor may then apply to the court for a garnishee order. The court will review the case and consider factors such as the amount owed, the debtor’s financial situation, and any potential hardship the order may cause.

Who Can Apply for a Garnishee Order?

Any creditor who is owed money can apply for a garnishee order. This includes individuals, businesses, and organizations. However, it is important to note that the creditor must have a valid legal basis for their claim, such as a court judgment or a written agreement.

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What Assets Can be Targeted?

Garnishee orders can be used to target various types of assets, depending on the debtor’s financial situation. Some common types of assets that may be subject to a garnishee order include:

  • Wages and salaries
  • Bank accounts
  • Interests in partnerships or corporations
  • Rental income
  • Accounts receivable
  • Insurance claims or settlements

Are There Any Limitations?

While garnishee orders can be effective in debt recovery, there are certain limitations and restrictions. These may vary depending on the jurisdiction, so it is important to seek legal advice specific to your situation. Some common limitations include:

  • Statutory limits on the percentage of wages that can be garnished
  • Protection of certain types of income, such as social security benefits or child support payments
  • Exemptions for low-income debtors

Consequences for the Debtor

Receiving a garnishee order can have serious consequences for the debtor. Their wages may be reduced, potentially causing financial hardship. Additionally, the debtor’s relationship with the third party being garnished, such as their employer or bank, could be affected. The garnishee order may also impact the debtor’s credit score, making it more difficult for them to secure loans or credit in the future.


A garnishee order is a legal tool that allows creditors to collect debts directly from third parties who owe money to the debtor. It provides a means for creditors to recover what is owed when other collection methods have failed. However, it is important to understand the limitations and potential consequences associated with garnishee orders, and seek legal advice if needed.

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