Area of Law: Small Claims Court
Answer # 573
Changing a garnishment orderRegion: Ontario Answer # 573
If you were sued and lost, or if you did not attend the trial, the judge probably ordered you to pay the plaintiff money. This person now becomes a creditor, and you are the debtor. Through garnishment, the creditor is allowed to collect up to 20% of your wages until the debt is paid off. This means that the creditor collects payments directly from your employer, who in turn will deduct these payments from your wages. However, your employer is not allowed to fire or suspend you because of the garnishment.
Negotiating a lump-sum payment
Depending on how much you earn and how much you owe, it may take a long time for the debt to be paid off by garnishing your wages. In this case, the creditor may agree to accept a lump-sum payment of a lower amount in exchange for agreeing to terminate the garnishment. If the creditor agrees to this new arrangement, then you should ask for it to be put in writing for both of you to sign. This way, after making the lump-sum payment, you are protected from the creditor claiming that the debt is still owing.
Also, you should ask the creditor to give your employer a Notice of Termination of Garnishment, which is a form that tells the employer to stop deducting the payment from your paycheques. Without this notice, the employer is not legally allowed to stop garnishing your wages.
Ask for a garnishment hearing
If you wish to change the payment amount or frequency, then you will need to complete and file a Notice of Garnishment Hearing form. After which, you will need to appear at the garnishment hearing and present your case. If the debt has been paid, the creditor is responsible for terminating the garnishment. The creditor should complete a Notice of Termination of Garnishment form, serve it on the debtor and garnishee and file it with the court.
If your wages are being garnished mistakenly, you can contact the court office.
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