AN ACT TO ALLOW GARNISHMENT OF A JUDGMENT DEBTOR'S WAGES UPON A FINAL JUDGMENT AWARDING MONEY DAMAGES IN A CIVIL ACTION.
Adds a new Article 15, Garnishment of Wages to Enforce Judgments, in GS Chapter 1C. Provides that a final judgment that an individual owes monetary damages may be enforced by garnishing the wages of the judgment debtor. Provides that the judgment against the debtor may be enforced by a writ of garnishment.Defines disposable earnings as the amount owed to the judgment debtor by an employer minus any amounts deducted by the employer for federal and state income taxes, the debtor's share of state unemployment insurance, and for social security. Provides that the amount of the judgment debtor's weekly earnings that may be garnished is the lesser of the following amounts: (1) 25% of the judgment debtor's disposable earnings or (2) the amount by which the judgment debtor's disposable earnings exceed 30 times the federal minimum wage, which is currently $7.25 per hour.
Specifies the procedures for garnishment of the judgment debtor's wages including the issuance of the writ of garnishment by the clerk of superior court. Permits the employer of the judgment debtor to deduct a fee of $10 per pay period from the amount garnished. Direct the employer to comply with the writ of garnishment. Provides criteria regarding the duration of the writ of garnishment, the priority for satisfying more than one writ of garnishment for a single judgment debtor, and the right of a judgment debtor to claim certain fund sources as exempt from garnishment. Also provides that an judgment debtor may file with the court a notice of objection to the garnishment order. Sets out a time line for notice to the judgment creditor of the filing of the notice of objection to the writ of garnishment and the scheduling of a hearing on the matter.
Specifies the order in which payments received by the judgment creditor are to be applied to the debt owed. Requires the judgment creditor to deliver written notification to the judgment debtor's employer within five business days following the satisfaction of the judgment and to notify the clerk in writing that the judgment is satisfied within 30 days after the debt is satisfied.
Authorizes the clerk to impose penalties for the improper garnishment of wages. Provides that earnings paid by a city, county, state, or local government authority are subject to the provisions regarding wage garnishment in the same manner as earnings paid by any other employer.
Amends GS 1-362 to delete the exception that allowed a debtor's earnings for personal services within a 60-day period preceding an order that the debtor's property be sold to satisfy the judgment to be exempt from application to the satisfaction of the judgment when it appeared that the earnings were necessary for the use of a family supported wholly or partly by the labor of the the judgment debtor.
Effective July 1, 2015, and applies to civil judgments entered either prior to or after the effective date.
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