Magistrate Court - Garnishments FAQ's

How do I file a garnishment?
Garnishment proceedings may be filed immediately if the judgment issued is a default judgment. Otherwise, a period of ten days must lapse before a garnishment can be filed. The correct forms for filing a garnishment can be obtained from this website or from the Magistrate Court Clerk's Office.

What forms do I need?

A copy of the judgment must accompany the garnishment upon filing if the judgment was obtained from another court. You also need:

  • Continuing (Wage) Garnishment:
  • Affidavit and Summons of Continuing Garnishment
  • Answer of Continuing Garnishment
  • Sheriff's Entry of Service form for the garnishee
  • Sheriff's Entry of Service form for the defendant
  • Regular (Bank) Garnishment:
  • Affidavit and Summons of Garnishment
  • Answer of Garnishment
  • Sheriff's Entry of Service form for the garnishee
  • Sheriff's Entry of Service form for the defendant


How long does a garnishment last?
A continuing (wage) garnishment is good for 195 days from the date of service by the Sheriff's Department.

A regular (bank) garnishment is good for 45 days from the date of service by the Sheriff's Department.

How long does the garnishee have to file an answer with the court?
A garnishee must file an answer with the court no later than 45 days, but not sooner than 30 days from the date of service by the Sheriff's Department.

What happens if the garnishee fails to file an answer?
If the garnishee fails to file an answer by the 45th day from the date of service, they still have an additional 15 days in which they can file an answer but they are required to pay court cost in order to open the default. If the garnishee fails to file an answer by the 60th day from the date of service, the plaintiff can request a judgment against the garnishee. The plaintiff can then take steps to collect the judgment from the garnishee.

What amount can I file a garnishment for?
The principal amount on the judgment may not exceed $15,000.00 when filing a garnishment with the Magistrate Court.

What is a traverse?
The plaintiff's traverse states that the garnishee's answer is untrue or legally insufficient. The plaintiff may file a traverse no later than 15 days after the answer of the garnishee is filed with the court. The defendant's traverse states that the affidavit of garnishment is untrue or legally insufficient. The defendant may file a traverse at any time before a judgment is entered on the garnishee's answer. The garnishee must withhold funds until the judge rules on the traverse. The funds are held in the registry of the court until the traverse is ruled on. A traverse must be scheduled for a hearing within 10 days of the filing of the traverse.

 
© Copyright 2014 - Chatham County Courts