Submit your information to schedule a free consultation with attorney Andrew M. Doktofsky.
One of the methods by which a creditor in New York can enforce a judgment is by means of an income execution, more commonly known as a wage garnishment. The creditor must first obtain a judgment against the debtor in order to be able to utilize an income execution.
The income execution is usually prepared by the judgment creditor’s attorney, who then delivers it to the Sheriff of the county in which the judgment debtor resides. The Sheriff then serves the income execution on the judgment debtor. Service of the income execution may be made in the same manner as service of a summons, or by certified mail. If served by certified mail, an additional copy must be sent to the debtor by regular mail.
Once served with the income execution, a judgment debtor has twenty days in which to comply voluntarily and start making payments to the Sheriff. If the debtor fails to do so, the Sheriff must then serve the income execution on the debtor’s employer. If the debtor’s employer is located in a different county from the debtor’s residence, the income execution will be returned to the creditor’s attorney. It must then be delivered to the Sheriff of the county in which the employer is located. The Sheriff in that county then serves the income execution on the employer.
If the debtor does not reside in New York State but is employed in the state, the income execution is delivered directly to the Sheriff of the county where the debtor is employed.
A debtor’s earnings can be subject to only one income execution at a time, with priority given to the judgment creditor that first delivers its income execution to the Sheriff. The exception to this is that a debtor’s earnings may also at the same time be subject to an income execution for support enforcement, subject to the deduction limitations detailed below. If there is a conflict between an ordinary income execution and an execution for support enforcement, the execution for support will have priority.
The maximum that can be deducted from an employee’s earnings is 10% of the employee’s gross income. “Earnings” means compensation for personal services, whether considered to be wages, salary, commission or bonus. Only earnings for services rendered within the sixty days prior to delivery of the income execution to the Sheriff are subject to the 10% limitation. If, for instance, the judgment debtor is due a bonus for services performed prior to the sixty-day period, then it is possible for the full amount to be levied upon, without regard to the 10% limitation.
The 10% maximum is subject to certain limitations, as follows:
It is important to note that up to 60% of a debtor’s disposable earnings can be withheld pursuant to an income execution for child support or spousal maintenance (65% if there are arrears that accrued over 12 weeks prior to the week for which earnings are payable).
If your pay is currently subject to a wage garnishment, or you have recently been served with an income execution, you may have options available to you. Long Island bankruptcy lawyer Andrew M. Doktofsky can advise you on how bankruptcy can stop wage garnishments, and provide you with relief from your debts. Andrew M. Doktofsky assists people throughout Long Island, including Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Call (631) 673-9600 to schedule a free consultation.