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garnish

v. to obtain a court order directing a party holding funds (such as a bank) or about to pay wages (such as an employer) to an alleged debtor to set that money aside until the court determines (decides) how much the debtor owes to the creditor. Garnishing funds is also a warning to the party holding the funds (garnishee) not to pay them, and to inform the court as to how much money is being held. If the garnishee (such as a bank or employer) should mistakenly give the money to the account owner or employee, the garnishee will be liable to pay the creditor what he/she/it has coming. Garnishing wages is a typical means used to collect late child support and alimony payments or money judgments. Often the order will be to pay installment payments to the sheriff until the debt is collected. Then the sheriff pays the whole amount or payments to the person to whom the money is owed.

See also: garnishee  garnishment 

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The People's Law Dictionary by Gerald and Kathleen Hill Publisher Fine Communications