Marietta, GA asked in Probate for Georgia

Q: What action can I take to stop a wage garnishment just received by my employer yesterday from my old Home owners assoc?

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1 Lawyer Answer
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Cary, NC
  • Licensed in Georgia

A: If your wages are being garnished that means that the HOA got a judgment against you. Assuming that the judgment was properly entered, there is no way to stop it aside from bankruptcy. If the judgment was invalid, you have to challenge it. If you succeed, then you can stop the garnishment. If there are grounds to challenge it, you can file what is called a traverse, but you are limited as to what can be raised in a traverse. See below statutes:

OCGA § 18-4-93. Right of defendant to become a party to garnishment proceedings; procedure

A garnishment proceeding is an action between the plaintiff and the garnishee; but, at any time before a judgment is entered on the garnishee's answer or before money or other property subject to garnishment is distributed, the defendant may become a party to the garnishment for the purposes set out in Code Section 18-4-65 by filing a traverse to the plaintiff's affidavit stating that the affidavit is untrue or legally insufficient; and he shall be a party to all proceedings thereafter. Upon the filing of the defendant's traverse, and at the defendant's application therefor, a judge of the court in which the case is pending shall order a hearing to be held not more than ten days from the date the traverse is filed. The hearing shall be available to the defendant as a matter of right after filing his traverse; and no further summons of garnishment may issue nor may any money or other property delivered to the court as subject to garnishment be disbursed until the hearing shall be held.

OCGA § 18-4-65. Issues defendant may raise by traverse of plaintiff's affidavit

(a) When garnishment proceedings are based upon a judgment, the defendant, by traverse of the plaintiff's affidavit, may challenge the existence of the judgment or the amount claimed due thereon. The defendant may plead any other matter in bar of the judgment, except as provided in subsection (b) of this Code section.

(b) The validity of the judgment upon which a garnishment is based may only be challenged in accordance with Chapter 11 of Title 9; and no such challenge shall be entertained in the garnishment case. However, where the court finds that the defendant has attacked the validity of the judgment upon which the garnishment is based in an appropriate forum, the judge may order the garnishment released and stayed until the validity of the judgment has been determined in such forum.

(c) If the garnishment proceedings are based upon a pending action, the case shall proceed in accordance with Code Section 18-4-45.

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