If someone claims that you owe them money, they can go to court and bring a lawsuit against you. If they win the case, the court will give them a judgment against you. A judgment is a court order stating how much you owe to them. The person you owe money to is called the "creditor," and you are called the "debtor."
Citation to Discover Assets
A Citation to Discover Assets is a court document that tells you to come to court to tell the court and the creditor about your income and assets. This is so the creditor can find out what they can do to get the money you owe them. You must appear on the court date and give the information you requested.
Once the creditor finds out about your income and assets, they can move on to garnishment.
A wage garnishment is when the creditor takes money out of your wages to pay off the debt. Your employer will take up to 15% of your gross income and give it to the creditor. However, the withholding can't leave you with less than $371.25 as weekly take-home pay.
There is not much you can do to fight a wage garnishment other than filing for bankruptcy.
Non-wage garnishment is when the creditor collects the judgment out of your bank account.
Some types of money cannot be garnished, like Social Security. You can also protect a certain amount of your money and property from debt collection. This is called claiming an exemption.
If your bank account has been frozen, you can go to court to unfreeze it by claiming your exemptions.
Updated: July 2017