Frequently Asked Garnishment Questions:
Are your garnishments really free?
In successful cases, the debtor pays us to collect. Let us explain. We charge low set-fees for our services and never take a contingency or percentage. If we are successful in recovering funds, Washington law allows us to add our charges to the debt. You must pay us upfront, but this means that, in effect, the debtor pays you to be garnished.
What do I need to get started?
You must have a valid judgment against the debtor, a last known address, and know what bank or employer you wish to garnish. If LT Services evicted your tenant, we may have this information already. If not, fill out our Garnishment Intake Sheet and send the appropriate attachments. For best results, we recommend including a social security number, birth date, and bank account number.
How long does a garnishment take?
Each case is different, but a bank garnishment generally takes about two months and a wage garnishment about three.
What amounts can I collect?
The law allows a debtor to claim certain exemptions from garnishment. A debtor may exempt up to $500.00 from a bank account. A debtor's wages are exempt up to the greater of $475.15 per week or 80% of after-tax income. In addition, items like social security and certain retirement accounts are 100% exempt from collection.
When do I learn whether we will receive any money?
The process begins by serving your debtor and the debtor's bank or employer with the writ of garnishment. The debtor has a statutory time limit to object to the garnishment or claim any exemptions. After we send the paperwork, it generally takes 5-6 weeks before we learn whether you are likely to receive any money. This may be longer with wage garnishments.
How long does a wage garnishment last?
In Washington, a wage garnishment lasts for 60 days. After that period, if the debtor still owes you money, we must start the garnishment process again.
Do I have to pay for multiple wage garnishments?
Yes. If your debt is not paid in full by one garnishment, we can repeat the process until you are paid or the debtor's employment changes. Our process is the same each time, so we must charge you again. However, the garnishment costs are added to the debt, so we will attempt to collect these repeat charges as part of the process.
When do I get paid?
It takes about three months to receive funds after a bank garnishment about about four months after a wage garnishment. To protect both parties, there are several statutory waiting periods in a garnishment. After an employer or bank answers that they are holding funds for you, we must wait for several other deadlines to pass. Once we receive an order to pay, we will notify the employer or bank. The money is then mailed to the court, who mails it to us, and finally we mail it to you.
What happens if the debtor quits or his account is closed?
In those circumstances, as well as several others, you will not receive any funds. This means that you must bear the cost of garnishment yourself (i.e. you cannot charge it to the debtor) and this garnishment will end. If you know of another bank or employer you would like us to try, we can start the process again. If you do not, but do know the debtor's social security number, we can perform a Washington employment search to attempt to identify the debtor's current employer.
Do you have more questions?
Are you ready to order services?
Please note, collections always involve risk. Your debtor may so few funds that they are not collectible, may have only exempt funds or income, may be garnished by someone else, may file bankruptcy, may change jobs or banks, or some other reason may prevent recovery. We encourage you to consider this uncertainty when making a decision how to collect and whether to retain our services.
*All information displayed on the LT Services website is informational and shall not be deemed as legal advice. If you would like legal representation or advice, please contact us through e-mail or by phone. Until an attorney-client relationship has been established, no information you provide is privileged or confidential.