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A civil judgment was filed against me by an individual in

Customer Question

A civil judgment was filed against me by an individual in the state of MD. I live in PA and my employer is in NJ. I don't own any real property, for them to attach, but I am concerned about wage garnishment. A friend told me the state of PA will only allow wage garnishment for federal tax liens or federally insured student loans, but I am not sure how it works since my employer is located on NJ.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  Tax.appeal.168 replied 2 years ago.

In brief, state law determines whether or not a person's wages can be garnished. SEE BELOW:

The information that your friend provided is correct. A wage garnishment in PA does not allow wages to be garnished for a civil judgment. SEE BELOW:

An employee’s wages, salaries and commissions may be taken from an employer through appropriate legal procedures to satisfy these kinds of debts:

  • judgments for child or spousal support
  • obligations relating to final divorce distribution
  • PHEAA student loans
  • back rent on a residential lease
  • as restitution for criminal matters
  • for certain types of taxes

Your wages cannot be garnished for any other purpose. Garnishment of wages can only be accomplished only by a court order directed to the employer and no such court order can be issued without fair notice to the debtor/wage earner. Other than the kinds of debt listed above, no other debt or legal obligation can give rise to wage attachment in Pennsylvania.



As for the state of New Jersey, that is a different story. The following applies;

Collection of Judgment Debt: Wage Garnishment

When a debt collector gets a judgment against you (whether by default or not), the debt collector becomes a judgment creditor. A judgment creditor may apply to the court for a Writ of Execution against your wages. As long as you earn more than $48 weekly, a creditor may garnish your wages as payment for the debt. N.J.S.A. 2A:17-50. The judgment creditor will get the Writ and send it to your employer. Your employer must legally follow the Writ and withhold part of your paycheck to send to your judgment creditor. If you don’t have a steady employer (if you’re a freelancer, for example), the judgment creditor can get court orders for liens on your property, for the right to levy your bank accounts, or for the right to seize and sell your property.



As your employer is located in the state of New Jersey, if the proper procedures are followed, a wage garnishment could be issued.

Let me know if I can be of further assistance to you regarding this matter.