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The withholding of a person's full salary or wages, especially in order to pay a creditor or the tax agency. For example, suppose one's regular paycheck would be $1500. Garnishment occurs when the person receives a check for only $1050 because the government is withholding $450 for taxes. Garnishment may also occur for other reasons, such as to pay child support, back taxes, or some debts.


A process involving three parties:

• Judgment creditor. The party who takes a judgment against a debtor (can also be the IRS or a state's Department of Revenue).

• Judgment debtor. The party who owes the debt.

• Garnishee A party who owes money or holds property belonging to the judgment debtor.

In this legal process, the judgment creditor obtains a court order requiring the garnishee to turn over funds or property to the judgment creditor instead of to the true owner, the judgment debtor. The most common garnishments are against employers, requiring them to withhold a portion of wages and salary and pay it to the creditor rather than to the employee. The second most common garnishment is against a bank, ordering it to turn over bank account funds to the judgment creditor or the IRS.