A garnishment is a legal proceeding taken by a creditor after a judgement is awarded from a court against a debtor. If the creditor knows that the debtor has money, or property, in the hand of a third party (wages owed by the debtor's employer, funds in a bank account, etc.), the creditor may have a garnishment served to recover funds owed on the debt. Iowa Code 642 governs the amount allowed to be withheld.
- Advanced fees (PDF) are required. The actual fees for service are added to the amount of the judgement to be garnished. If the Sheriff's Office receives enough funds from the garnishee to cover the cost of the Sheriff's fees, the advance fee will be refunded. If the entire advance fee is not needed to cover the fees, the remaining amount will be refunded.
- The execution must be issued and delivered/mailed by the Sheriff's Office with Garnishment Directions for Service (PDF).
- Most banks and many employers require (besides the defendant's name) another identifier such as a social security number/account number. This is to ensure the correct person is being garnished. Without this information the garnishment will still be served, but your chance of receiving any funds may be reduced dramatically.
- Garnishments expire 120 days from the date it was issued by the Clerk of Court.
- The Sheriff's Office will require the last known address for the defendant, since for all non-wage garnishment a notice of garnishment is required to be mailed by restricted certified mail, as well as, one copy by first class mail.