Once you have a judgment against a non-paying debtor, it may be time to garnish his or her wages.

Step 1: Serve Notice of Garnishment

You must serve the debtor with a Garnishment Exemption Notice and Notice of Intent to Garnish Earnings Within 10 Days upon the debtor at least 10 days before attempting to garnish wages.

You may serve this personally upon the debtor or by mail.

A sample of the requirements in Minnesota for this Notice may be found in Minnesota Statute 571.925 or online at http://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=571.925#stat.571.925.

This notice is valid for one year.

This notice informs the debtor that:

  • his or her wages may be garnished, without any further notice, after 10 days,
  • the debtor has a right to a hearing if the garnishment by the employer is incorrect,
  • some types of assistance the debtor may receive are exempt from garnishment,
  • if he or she wishes to claim an exemption he or she must fill out a form (that you will provide which can also be found at the link mentioned above), sign it, and send it to you and the garnishee.

You are entitled to a hearing if you believe the debtor’s claimed exemption is incorrect.

If you receive no statement of exemption from the debtor, after at least 10 days, but before the expiration of 1 year, you may proceed with garnishment.

Step 2: Garnishment Summons and Disclosure Form

In order to proceed with garnishment, you will need to serve the debtor’s employer with a Garnishment Summons and Disclosure Form.

If you receive a statement of exemption from the debtor, you may still issue a Garnishment Summons to the debtor’s employer, subject to sanctions for bad faith under Minnesota Statute 571.72 subdiv. 6.

When serving the debtor’s employer with a Garnishment Summons, you must also pay the debtor’s employer $15.00, pursuant to 2010 Minnesota Statute 571.76.

In Minnesota, an example of a Garnishment Summons may be found in Minnesota Statute 571.74 or online at http://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=571.74.

The Garnishment Summons directs the debtor’s employer to serve upon you a completed Earnings Garnishment Disclosure Form, within 10 days of the last payday to occur within 70 days after the date of service of the Garnishment Summons.

You must provide the employer with the Earnings Garnishment Disclosure Form. In Minnesota, a sample of an Earnings Garnishment Disclosure Form (or Garnishment Earnings Disclosure) may be found in Minnesota Statute 571.75 or online at http://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=571.75.

The Garnishment Summons also directs the employer to retain garnishable earnings, not to exceed 110% of your claim, until you either cause a writ of execution to be served upon the employer. You will later cause a writ of execution to be served upon the employer pursuant to Minnesota Statutes chapter 550.

The Garnishment Summons must also include the full name of the debtor and the debtor’s last known mailing address, the remaining unpaid balance of the debt owed, and the date of entry of judgment, pursuant to Minnesota Statute 571.72 subdiv. 2.

You must also add the language, “This is an attempt to collect a debt. Any information obtained will be used for that purpose,” pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act requirements under section 332.37(12).

Step 3: More Notice of Garnishment to the Debtor

You must mail to the debtor a copy of the Garnishment Summons and Earnings Garnishment Disclosure Form that you served on the debtor’s employer, within 5 days of service on the employer.

You must also serve the debtor with a Notice to Debtor in no less than 14-point font. An example Notice to Debtor may be found in Minnesota Statute 571.74 or online at http://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=571.74.

Writ of Execution

A writ of execution is issued by the clerk of the court, directed to the county sheriff, and endorsed by the judgment creditor or his attorney. It is void after 180 days following issuance by the court administrator.