The following is required to file a garnishment in Magistrate Court:
- You have a Judgment/Order against the defendant; and
(Note: If you received a Judgment/Order, you must wait ten (10) days before you can file a garnishment. There is no waiting period if you received a Default Judgment.)
- The Judgment does not exceed $15,000; and
- The Garnishee — the Employer / Registered Agent or Bank is located in Cobb County.
There are three (3) types of garnishments typically filed in Magistrate Court.
- Wage a/k/a Continuing Garnishment known as a Wage Garnishment
- Bank a/k/a Regular Garnishment
- Continuing Child Support Garnishment
You must have the complete name and address including the zip code for the Defendant’s last known address and Garnishee (Employer / Registered Agent or Bank). Additionally, you must provide a copy of the judgment or Fifa if obtained from another county.
Note: If you do not know where the defendant works or banks, then you can file Interrogatories.
- The Sheriff’s Office will serve the Garnishee [Employer or Bank].
- The Garnishee has 30 to 45 days to answer to the Court (typically with funds that have been withheld.)
- The Court holds these funds 30 days, then will pay out accordingly.
- The Plaintiff must serve the Defendant with copy of “Summons” provided by the Court in the Plaintiff’s Packet. The Defendant’s Copy of the Summons must be served not more than three (3) business days after service by the Sheriff to the Garnishee. The Court cannot pay funds out to the Plaintiff unless this process has been completed as required.
Release of Garnishment
Wage (Continuing) Garnishment
- Expires 195 days from Sheriff’s service (approximately 6 months);
- Paid in full;
- Employee terminates; or
- Plaintiff dismisses the case.
Bank (Regular) Garnishment
The bank account(s) are frozen upon service by the Sheriff’s Office. Any funds in the account up to the judgment amount and court cost will be sent to the Court. The Court holds these funds for 30 days and will payout to the Plaintiff accordingly.
- Bank can answer with “No account” or “No funds.”
Continuing Child Support Garnishment
- Until arrearage is paid in full; or
- Until the child turns 18, or age stated in the Court Order.
Plaintiff or Defendant Traverse
** Filing a Traverse does not stop the garnishment process. **
The traverse is filed in person by the respective party, and a court date will be scheduled at the time of filing. The court date is usually set within two weeks of filing the traverse. Any monies collected prior to the traverse will be held until the court date.
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 in the court.
Defendant’s traverse states that the affidavit of garnishment is untrue or legally insufficient. The defendant may file a traverse at anytime before a judgment is entered on the garnishee’s answer.
The garnishee must continue to withhold funds until the judge rules on the traverse. The funds are held in the registry of the court until the traverse is ruled upon.