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Garnishment is a court procedure allowing you to collect your judgment directly from the defendant's wages, bank account, or other sources such as income tax refunds. If you want to file a garnishment, see the court clerk for the proper forms. Instructions are included with the forms.
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A party who sues another party is called the Plaintiff. The party being sued is called the Defendant. There can be more than one plaintiff or defendant in the same action. An example would be when a husband and wife sue another husband and wife.
The following has been prepared to help you determine if you are the proper person to file the claim:
You can collect the amount stated in your small claims judgment (form DC 85) plus any interest that accumulates during the time the other party pays off the judgment.
There are several ways you can collect your money such as:
Request an order to seize property is a court procedure allowing the court officer to seize property belonging to the defendant which can be sold to pay for your judgment. If you want to file a request and order to seize property, you may use form MC 19, Request and Order to Seize Property.
To get a request and order to seize property or a garnishment, you will first need to know where the defendant lives and works, what assets s/he has and where the assets are located, and any other information which identifies the defendant and his/her property. If you have the information described, you can start the process for a request and order to seize property or a garnishment. If you don't have the information described, you will need to order the defendant to appear in court for questioning through a process called discovery. You can start this process by filing a discovery subpoena.
You must wait 21 days after your small claims judgment was signed before you can file a discovery subpoena. Form MC 11, Subpoena (Order to Appear) can be used. Contact the court for an appearance date before putting the date and location on the form. Complete both the front of the Subpoena and the Affidavit for Judgment Debtor Examination on the back. The filing fee is $15. The court will issue the Subpoena by having the Judge sign it. Once the Subpoena is signed it must be served on the defendant, by the process server or any legally competent adult who is not a party or an officer of a corporate party.
You must wait 21 days after your small claims judgment was signed before you can get a request and order to seize property. Form MC 19, Request and Order to Seize Property, is used to start the process. Complete the Request and Verification portion of form MC 19 and file it with the court. The filing fee is $15. The court will issue the order by signing the form, and it will be executed by the sheriff or court officer. Any property that is seized will be sold and the money given to you. The sheriff or court officer is entitled to fees which will be deducted from the sale of the property.
You must wait 21 days after your small claims judgment was signed before you can get a garnishment. Form MC 12 or MC 13, Request and Writ of Garnishment, is used to start the garnishment process. There are two types of garnishment: periodic and non-periodic.
A periodic writ of garnishment (MC 12) is used to garnish the defendant's wages, rent payments, land contract payments, or other debt which is paid to the defendant on a periodic basis. A periodic garnishment is valid for until the judgment, interest, and costs are paid off.
A non-periodic writ of garnishment (MC 13) is used to garnish the defendant's bank account or other property. Once money has been garnished under the non-periodic writ, the writ is no longer valid. If there is a remaining balance on the judgment, you must get another writ to collect more money.
Fill in the names and addresses of both the defendant and the garnishee on the Request part of the form. The garnishee is the person or business who has control or possession of the defendant's money. Once you complete the Request, you must file it with the district court that entered your small claims judgment. The filing fee is $15. The court will issue the Writ (order) by signing the form. The Request and Writ must be served on the garnishee along with the Disclosure form MC 14. If the garnishment is for periodic payments, include a $35 disclosure fee with the forms.
The garnishee has 14 days after the Writ is served to let you, the court, and the defendant know if any money is available for garnishment. This information will be provided on form MC 14, Garnishee Disclosure. If you are trying to garnish wages, you will only received part of the wages based on a federal formula.
If money is available, it will be withheld from the defendant right away. However, this money will be held for 28 days to allow the defendant time for objections. If there are no objections, the withheld money will be automatically sent to you after 28 days. If the garnishment is for periodic payments, the money will continue to be sent to you as payments become due to the defendant until the writ expires.
If your case against the defendant involved a traffic accident, you can ask the court for an abstract of judgment which suspends the defendant's Michigan driver license until s/he pays the judgment. You must wait 40 days after the judgment date before you can get an abstract of judgment. You need to provide the defendant's full name, date of birth, and Michigan driver license number. There is no filing fee. The court clerk should have the necessary forms. When payment or judgment is complete, either in full or to your satisfaction, you should file a satisfaction of judgment with the court.
All forms are a $1 each.