I had a judgement against me in 1999 and now some attorney is trying to guarnish my wages for it. I have not gotten any notice about this debt in at least 10 years. Can they legally do it?
A lawyer would have to review the court file to determine if the garnishment is valid.
I strongly suggest that you talk to a bankruptcy lawyer.
The lifetime of a judgment is complicated, however, I will try to explain it.
In Kansas, the lifetime of a judgment is controlled by K.S.A. 60-2403, available on the web at: http://www.kslegislature.org/li/b2019_20/statute/060_000_0000_chapter/060_024_0000_article/060_024_0003_section/060_024_0003_k/. As a practical matter, if the judgment is for child support, it is valid forever. If the judgment was for restitution for a crime and the judgment was entered on or after July 1, 2003, it is valid forever. If a restitution judgment was entered before July 1, 2003 and was renewed (either by a renewal affidavit or by one of various methods of execution) so that it was still valid or dormant on July 1, 2015 it is valid forever.
If a judgment was for an ordinary debt, the judgment has an active life of 5 years followed by a two year period of dormancy. At any time during the active period, the judgment can be renewed (either by a renewal affidavit or by one of various methods of execution) for a period of five years from the renewal event (either the renewal affidavit or issuance of the execution). At the end of the five years from the last execution event, the judgment is dormant for a period of two years.
An active or dormant judgment can be sued upon resulting in a new judgment being entered.
If, at the end of a seven year period during which no renewal event has occurred, the judgment becomes void and the debt is forever barred. It cannot be resurected. Even if a garnishment is pending (a garnishment is a renewal event) for seven years without a new renewal event occurring during that seven years, the judgment is void (See Associated Wholesale Grocers, Inc. v. Americold Corp., 293 Kan. 633, 270 P.3d 1074 , available on the web at: http://www.kscourts.org/Cases-and-Opinions/Opinions/SupCt/2011/20111223/20111223.htm click on 99506).
Talk to a bankruptcy lawyer. I am not suggesting that you file bankruptcy (although that may be your best alternative, that i one of the things to discuss with your bankruptcy lawyer), I am suggesting that you get your assets in order so that the lender cannot
You should understand that if the lender goes to court and gets a judgment, that is NOT a court order to pay money. A judgment is a hunting license for the creditor to get a writ of execution which allows a sheriff or process server to seize your non-exempt assets, sell those assets and apply the proceeds to the judgment debt. Kansas has a generous list of exempt assets (available on the web at: http://www.kslegislature.org/li/b2019_20/statute/060_000_0000_chapter/060_023_0000_article/
The most important exempt asset is your homestead (if you own your own home).
Kansas also allows you to convert your non-exempt assets into exempt assets (by such things as paying down your mortgage or funding a Roth IRA). Also under the case of Sproul v. Atchison National Bank, 22 Kan. 336 (1879), if you have access to a non-UCCC lender (usually a close family member) you can make your non-exempt assets (including your wages) as additional collateral on your home mortgage contractually requiring that the home mortgage lender to liquidate the non-exempt assets before selling your home and prohibiting the lender from releasing those assets before the mortgage is paid in full.
My colleague provided a very accurate and thorough response. The short answer to your question is, yes, you can be garnished. And, if you don't do anything about it, you could be garnished a long time. You should consult and attorney to see what your options are to best resolve this debt. That could include some type of settlement or filing bankruptcy.
I agree with my colleagues. You'd have to know whether the judgment was renewed to know whether they can garnish on it.
Agree with other responses. Contact the attorney handling it or get bankruptcy attorney to get rid of the debt through a bankruptcy. It is NOT uncommon for a case still be collectible after 10 or 15 years depending on when they find you
This is not legal advise. It is intended only as general information for your use and since all facts may not be disclosed, It is difficult to give an accurate and complete answer.
Years licensed, work experience, educationLegal community recognition
Peer endorsements, associations, awardsLegal thought leadership
Publications, speaking engagementsDiscipline