While the form for an answer is pretty self explanatory, it may make sense to get some help on the first one. After that, it should be easy. You should have been served with an answer form that you can fill in the blanks on. There is a line for gross wages, one for tax and related deductions, and one for disposable earnings. The disposable earnings are gross wages less taxes. As an employer, it is likely that you had no amounts owed to the defendant other than salary earned, so the total in line 1 and at the beginning of line 3 should be the same. Line 2 would probably be zero. The amount paid into court is generally 25% of disposable, but there are exceptions based on minimal earnings levels.
If you received a continuing garnishment, you have to file your first answer between 30 and 45 days after service, and you have to file further answers on 30 day intervals for six months. You only withhold up to the amount of the garnishment amount stated, adding your current answer and all your previous answers together.
Again, it would be a good idea to talk to your attorney briefly. He or she should be able to walk you through the details of your particular facts fairly quickly. If you are unwilling to spend the time with your own attorney, you could also call the attorney that signed the garnishment, although you have to remember that the filing attorney represents the judgment holder, not you or the debtor, so listen with a grain of skepticism.
I agree that you need to meet with a local attorney. Under Georgia law, if you mess up a garnishment as an employer, you can be held liable for the entire amount of the debt. Yes......the entire amount the debt. Screwing up a response to a garnishment may end up costing you a lot of money.
Responding to wage garnishments can be tricky for employers, and they are dangerous, since your company can become legally liable for the underlying indebtedness if you do not properly respond to the garnishment action! Your best bet is to find a local attorney willing to assist you in responding to these garnishments, at least until such time you become sufficiently comfortable and familiar with the process to handle them on your own.
Dean R. Fuchs
This post is for marketing and informational purposes only; no attorney-client relationship is intended.