Garnishment is a legal process where a portion of a debtor's wages are withheld by his employer and given to a third party to satisfy a debt owed. Every state allows garnishment as a means to collect unpaid child support, taxes, student loans and court fees; however, some states, such as Michigan, allow garnishment for other types of collections.
A non-periodic writ of garnishment, referred to in the Michigan court system as MC 13, is used to collect money held by a debtor in a bank account. Additionally, a non-periodic writ of garnishment can be used to collect or levy other property to satisfy outstanding debt.
A periodic writ of garnishment, referred to in the Michigan court system as MC 12, is used to garnish a debtor's wages or any other income that is paid to the debtor on a periodic basis. For example, if the debtor is a landlord, the rents paid would be eligible for garnish. A periodic garnishments is valid for 91 days or until the debt is paid in full, whichever occurs first.
Collection efforts and garnishment attempts cannot begin immediately following a court order. Rather, Michigan law requires a 21-day waiting period.
Once money has been garnished through a non-periodic writ, the writ is no longer valid for collection purposes. In other words, if money is still owed and the debt unsatisfied, the creditor must obtain another writ to collect additional funds from the debtor.