Written by attorney Seth Alan Rosenberg



At Smith & Rosenberg we often represent small businesses attempting to collect debts or debtors attempting to defend against debts. Often people come to us with claims that are too small to hire an attorney to pursue. We have provided a step by step explanation to such people so that they can pursue the matter themselves, and we share it with you here now. The motions referred to are either available on the court website or through the internet.

  1. Serve Summons and Complaint on Debtor and file same with court. Include supporting documents, such as proof of debt and affidavits/declarations.

  2. File Motion for Default, Declaration in Support, and Proposed Order. You do not need to serve the debtor if he has failed to appear.

  3. File Motion for Judgment, declaration in Support, and Proposed Default Judgment after Judge/Commissioner signs Proposed Order at 2. This step can be combined with the Motion for Default at #2. Be sure to have a “Judgment Summary" heading on the Proposed Default Judgment including the name of the judgment creditor, the judgment debtor, the principal amount owed, the interest and costs to date, attorney fees, interest rate and name of filing attorney (if any).

  4. Must wait ten days before beginning garnishment.

  5. Complete Application for Writ of Garnishment

  6. Complete Writ of Garnishment

  7. Bring Application plus two copies of Writ to:

King County Superior Court

516 Third Avenue

Room E-609

Seattle, WA 98104

a. Pay $20 for application, made out to “Cashier." Cashier will stamp both copies of Writ, which you take back with you.

  1. You can mail in application/2 copies of writ/check to Cashier if you include a self-addressed stamped envelope. This is not encouraged.

  2. Mail to Garnishee (certified/return receipt)

a. Copy of writ

b. Four copies of “First Answer to Writ of Garnishment" and three pre-stamped envelopes (addressed to the defendant, the Clerk of the Court, and yourself).

c. Check or money order payable to garnishee in amount of $20.

  1. Mail to Defendant (certified/return receipt)

a. Copy of writ

b. Copy of Order

c. Notice of garnishment and exemption claim form, only if judgment debtor is an individual

  1. Wait for return receipts to come back. Attach them to Certificate of Mailing and deliver to clerk of court.

  2. After (and every) 60 days must mail to Garnishee a Second Answer to Writ of Garnishment. Continue this until the debt is satisfied.

a. Garnishee must return Answer within 20 days.

  1. File Judgment on Answer and Order to Pay after receipt of Second (and subsequent) Answer.

  2. All forms can be obtained on the Washington State Courts Website – Forms.

  3. Judgment Department Phone Number (206) 296-7858.

Good luck and remember that you can always contact Seth at Smith & Rosenberg for a free consultation. He can be reached at (206) 407-3300 or [email protected].

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