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Serving Writ of Garnishment Rules - Missing documents as Defendant?

Vancouver, WA |

I received via Certified Mail (4/26/13) an Application For Writ of Garnishment & Writ of Garnishment, both stamped by local county court 3/8/13. These are the only papers I've ever received, I haven't moved, haven't changed jobs nor phone #. The garnishment is for a monetary judgement from divorce 4 yrs ago - $1500 for atty's fees to be awarded to other party - NOT SPOUSAL MAINTENANCE. There is no record of service or summons, nothing stating I was supposed to go to court.
The payroll office states they were going to garnish this week, thankfully talked them out of it. I didnt have any time to prepare a response, and I believe I should have an opportunity to respond.
Debt was "sold" by Creditor to a Judgement Recovery Service.
Is this illegal and how do I take this person to court?

Attorney Answers 3

  1. This garnishment action is likely based on a judgment that was entered against you. As long as the judgment is valid, then the judgment creditor has the right to garnish.

    For detailed advice on your circumstances, including a review of the documentation that you received, consider investing in a consultation with an attorney that handles debtor creditor matters. This will give you peace of mind in knowing your rights and obligations in this situation.

    Do you remember having a judgment entered against you for attorney fees?

    Tim L. Eblen

  2. The judgment, as you indicate, was entered 4 years ago. That means that the creditor can enforce that judgment any time within 10 years. It can also be renewed once for another 10 years - giving the creditor a total of 20 years to enforce the judgment. The application for a writ of garnishment does not require notice to you or a hearing. The creditor just applies for it once it wants to collect the judgment. The original creditor (the attorney in the divorce) transferred the debt to a collection agency (Judgment Recovery). That's legal. About the only thing you can do at this point is make sure agency is licensed as a collection agency in WA and has the right to collect the debt. Here's a link to where you can find that out.

    The answers to these questions may be different depending on your individual circumstance and should not be considered as legal advice or the establishment of an attorney-client relationship.

  3. I agree with my colleagues, but I'll add that the time to substantively defend the lawsuit has almost certainly passed. Though you may not remember being served, someone that either lived with you, or at your last known address was served papers. If you are struggling with other debts, you should consider calling a local and experienced bankruptcy attorney for a free consultation. It may very well be worth your while.

    Please note that the above is not intended as legal advice, it is for educational purposes only. No attorney-client relationship is created or is intended to be created hereby. You should contact a local attorney to discuss and to obtain legal advice

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