A third party could be the bank who is served with the wage garnishment and is obligated to withhold money and pay it to the sheriff instead of paying it in wages. A third party could also be a company that owes money to our debtor on an accounts receivable levy. The general rule is they have to comply with the order or they can be held liable for damages.

If The Debtor’s Employment Terminates, What Happens If The Form Of Satisfying The Judgment Was Through Wage Garnishment?

If they stop working at their job, then there are no wages to garnish. If they go somewhere else, you have to find out where they’ve gone to work and start a new garnishment at the new place of employment. The employer does still have to hand over severance pay or anything else that accrues in the next 180 days. In most situations, you have to serve a new order for wage garnishments when an employee leaves.

Let’s say the debtor doesn’t get a new job within a certain timeframe. If that happens, you have to start from scratch. The company that used to employ them obviously doesn’t have any obligation to them, and if they’re not earning any wages, there’s nothing to garnish.

The good thing about wage garnishment is that people generally aren’t going to change a job because of it. We’re usually not chasing people who work in McDonald’s; we’re chasing the higher-level people who tend to stay at their jobs unless something happens, like they get fired or become ill.

What Are Special Enforcement Procedures?

Special enforcement procedures are just different ways to collect on debt. They’re not necessarily under a writ of execution, so they’re not a form of garnishment. One type of special enforcement procedure is an examination of the debtor and third parties, which is like a post-judgment deposition. The debtor comes into court, and we’re allowed to ask them questions about their assets, where they’re working, where they’re banking, whether they own any real property, you name it. We can even subpoena records and ask about their spouse because we can garnish a spouse’s wages too or levy on a spouse’s assets. California is a community property state, so one spouse is liable for the debts of the other during a marriage. This examination is just an information-gathering tool. Again, it’s not a direct levy; I’m not necessarily getting money that day, but I am gaining information I can use to try to collect down the road.

If the debtor doesn’t show up to this examination, the court can issue a contempt order, meaning a warrant can be issued for their arrest. That warrant is held to make sure they show up to the next date, which would be in one month’s time. People who didn’t show up the first time and were sent notice that a warrant’s been issued often show up the second time to avoid being arrested.

A second special enforcement tool is sending written interrogatories or a demand for production of documents post-judgment to the other side. These are not very effective; in fact, it’s rare that I actually have someone respond to these. Most people ignore them because all I can really do is go to court and get an order compelling them to produce the documents. If they don’t, the court finds the documents and adds them to the judgment. A determined debtor who doesn’t want to pay is not going to go to jail or anything like that; the judgment just increases in value.

A third special enforcement tool is an assignment order, which applies to future payments. “If a judgment debtor has a right to a future payment, a court may order an assignment of all or part of such right to a judgment creditor.”

Can You Add Someone Who’s Not On A Judgment?

We can amend a judgment to add a non-party alter ego. Let’s say I have a judgment just against you or your business that I bring to court in order to subpoena your records. If I discover that your sister was also involved and took a bunch of money from the company, then I can add her to the judgment, as well. This generally happens when you subpoena the bank records of a company and they reveal that the owners were just using the business as their personal piggybank. Most courts will be convinced to add the individual owner or owners who were doing this as judgment debtors on the judgment, so now they owe the debt personally, meaning we can go after their assets, including their house.

For more information on Debt Collections in California, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (714) 594-6322 today.

Art Matthews

Call Now To Schedule A Consultation!
(714) 594-6322