The term garnishment refers to the legal procedure through which a creditor can automatically collect a portion of a debtor's wages or income tax return to help satisfy the outstanding amount owed. Most commonly, an employee's wages are garnished when the employee owes child support or taxes to the government. Very rarely do courts permit other creditors to garnish wages. When wages are garnished, the money is sent directly to the creditor without first going to the debtor. In Arizona, there are two types of garnishments.
Under Arizona law, a creditor may bring a garnishment action against a debtor who is delinquent on his loan or is ordered by the court to pay child support or alimony. Once the creditor obtains a money judgment against the debtor to collect or a court order for support is made, the party entitled to the money can collect it from third-party sources such as the debtor's employer or bank.
Garnishing Wages and Property
A creditor can collect a portion of an employee's wages once the court has awarded a money judgment or issued a support order under Arizona law. Additionally, creditors are also allowed to garnish other money or property belonging to the debtor with some exceptions. The maximum amount of an employee's wages that can be garnished is 25 percent. Similarly, creditors cannot garnish professional tools, VA benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Further, when creditors garnish money in a bank account, they must leave a minimum of $150.00.
In Arizona, filing for bankruptcy halts the collection efforts of garnishments. Under U.S. law, once bankruptcy has been filed, creditors are prohibited from making any efforts to collect outstanding money owed until the stay is lifted by the bankruptcy court.