By reason of any money in his hands as a public officer; or
By reason of anything owing by that person upon a contingency.
If a garnishee is a financial institution, as defined in s. 214.01 (1) (jn)
, in possession of, or obligated with respect to, property subject to garnishment, the financial institution is liable to the creditor for the property in its possession, in an amount up to the garnishable amount in the account or accounts, as of the time the financial institution is first reasonably able to put the garnishment into effect, but no later than the end of the 2nd business day after the business day on which the garnishee summons and complaint is received by the financial institution. Any property that leaves the possession of the financial institution within that time frame, but before the financial institution is able to put the garnishment into effect, shall not be subject to the garnishment and the financial institution shall have no responsibility to attempt to secure the return of such property and no liability to the creditor for such property.
Property in a safe deposit box in any bank or safe deposit company is not property in the possession or control of such bank or safe deposit company within the meaning of this subchapter.
A debt owing by the owner of property subject to a construction lien, pursuant to s. 779.01
, shall not be deemed absolutely due until the claims of subcontractors and employees under s. 779.01
have matured or expired.
Except as provided in this section, judgment may be given for anything owing, although it has not become due in which case the garnishee shall not be required to pay or deliver it before the time appointed by the contract.
Sup. Ct. Order, 67 Wis. 2d 585, 759 (1975); 1975 c. 198
; Stats. 1975 s. 812.19; 1979 c. 32
s. 92 (9)
; 1993 a. 80
; 2019 a. 65
See s. 895.36
, providing that no person shall be liable as garnishee of a public corporation.
Future profits of a corporation are a contingent liability as to a shareholder and are not subject to garnishment. Olen v. Phelps, 200 Wis. 2d 155
, 546 N.W.2d 507
(Ct. App. 1996), 93-3302
Action by defendant against garnishee stayed.
Except upon the order of a judge no action shall be commenced by the defendant or the defendant's assignee against a garnishee upon any garnisheed claim or demand or to recover any property garnisheed, or execution be issued upon a judgment in favor of defendant against such garnishee, until the termination of the garnishment action; and if an action has been commenced or an execution issued it shall be stayed by the court or a judge thereof as to the garnishee upon the garnishee's application.
Sup. Ct. Order, 67 Wis. 2d 585, 759 (1975); Stats. 1975 s. 812.20; 1993 a. 213
Release of garnishment; bond. 812.21(1)(1)
The defendant may file with the clerk of the court a bond, executed by at least 2 sureties, resident freeholders of the state, to the effect that they will on demand pay to the plaintiff the amount of the judgment that may be recovered against such defendant not exceeding a sum specified, which shall be 1 1/2 times the amount of the debt specified in the garnishee complaint or in such less sum as the court directs. If the plaintiff fails to take issue with the garnishee answer the bond shall be conditioned to pay to the plaintiff the amount of the debt admitted or of the value of the property held by the garnishee.
The sureties shall justify their responsibility by affidavit annexed, stating a sum which each is worth in property within this state, above all the surety's liabilities and exclusive of property exempt from execution, the aggregate of which sums shall be double the amount specified in the bond. The defendant shall serve on the plaintiff a copy of such bond with a notice of where the same was filed. Within 3 days after the receipt thereof the plaintiff may notify the defendant that the plaintiff excepts to the sufficiency of the sureties, otherwise the plaintiff waives all objections to them. When the plaintiff excepts, the sureties shall justify in like manner as bail on arrest, and ss. 818.17
shall be applicable thereto. Thereafter the garnishee shall be discharged and the garnishment proceedings shall be deemed discontinued, and any money or property paid or delivered to any officer shall be surrendered to the person entitled thereto, and the costs shall be taxable as disbursements of the plaintiff in the action if the plaintiff recovers.
Sup. Ct. Order, 67 Wis. 2d 585, 759, 779 (1975); Stats. 1975 s. 812.21; Sup. Ct. Order, 83 Wis. 2d xiii (1978); 1993 a. 486
In case of a trial of an issue between the plaintiff and any garnishee, the prevailing party shall recover taxable costs.
History: Sup. Ct. Order, 67 Wis. 2d 585, 759 (1975); Stats. 1975 s. 812.22.
Any creditor who violates s. 812.01 (3)
or 812.02 (2)
shall forfeit not more than $100 which forfeiture shall be paid to the county treasurer.
The court before which the garnishment action is pending shall have summary jurisdiction under this section.
Sup. Ct. Order, 67 Wis. 2d 585, 759 (1975), 779; Stats. 1975 s. 812.24; 1977 c. 203
In this subchapter:
“Court" includes a circuit court commissioner assigned to preside at a proceeding under this subchapter.
“Creditor" means a person who has a claim against a debtor.
“Debtor" means the person whose earnings are subject to the garnishment and who is either the judgment debtor or the judgment debtor's spouse whose earnings are marital property.
“Dependent" means the debtor's spouse if living in the debtor's household and any other individual whom the debtor is legally required to support and to whom the debtor provides substantial support or maintenance.
“Disposable earnings" means that part of the earnings of the debtor remaining after deducting social security taxes and federal and state income taxes listed on the person's wage statement.
“Earnings" means compensation paid or payable by the garnishee for personal services, whether designated as wages, salary, commission, bonus or otherwise, and includes periodic payments under a pension or retirement program.
“Household income" means the disposable earnings of the debtor and dependents during any month in which the garnishment is in effect, plus unearned income received by the debtor and dependents in that month, less any of the debtor's earnings assigned by court order under ch. 767
“Need-based public assistance" means aid to families with dependent children, relief funded by a relief block grant under ch. 49
, relief provided by counties under s. 59.53 (21)
, medical assistance, supplemental security income, food stamps, or benefits received by veterans under s. 45.40 (1m)
or under 38 USC 1501
The procedures in this subchapter govern the garnishment of earnings, regardless of the amount of the judgment debt. Except as otherwise provided in this subchapter, the general rules of practice and procedure in chs. 750
shall apply to actions under this subchapter. Section 799.06 (2)
shall apply to actions under this subchapter.
Venue for earnings garnishment is prescribed by s. 801.50
; the garnishee shall be deemed a defendant for purposes of that statute.
An earnings garnishment action may not be commenced in a county other than the county where the judgment is entered unless a transcript of the judgment is entered in that county.
Each pleading or other document in an earnings garnishment proceeding shall designate each party as creditor, debtor or garnishee.
History: 1993 a. 80
; 1995 a. 224
Earnings garnishment generally.
Earnings garnishment is an action to collect an unsatisfied civil judgment for money damages plus statutory interest and costs, from earnings payable by the garnishee to the debtor.
History: 1993 a. 80
How Do Creditors, Debtors and Overburdened Small Claims Courts Get Relief? 1993 Wisconsin Act 80
. Fullin. Wis. Law. March 1994.
The creditor shall pay a $15 fee to the garnishee for each earnings garnishment or each stipulated extension of that earnings garnishment. This fee shall be included as a cost in the creditor's claim in the earnings garnishment.
In addition to the $15 garnishee fee under sub. (1)
, the garnishee shall receive a $3 fee for each payment delivered to the creditor under s. 812.39
after the first payment. That additional fee shall be deducted from the moneys delivered to the creditor. This subsection does not apply to a garnishment under s. 812.42
History: 1993 a. 80
; 2015 a. 55
The exemptions provided in this section do not apply if the judgment debt meets one of the following conditions:
Unless the court grants relief under s. 812.38 (2)
or par. (b)
applies, 80 percent of the debtor's disposable earnings are exempt from garnishment under this subchapter.
The debtor's earnings are totally exempt from garnishment under this subchapter if:
The debtor's household income is below the poverty line.
The debtor receives need-based public assistance, has received such assistance within 6 months prior to service of the earnings garnishment forms upon the garnishee or has been determined eligible to receive need-based assistance although actual receipt of benefits has not commenced.
If the garnishment of 20 percent of the debtor's disposable income under this subchapter would result in the debtor's household income being below the poverty line, the amount of the garnishment is limited to the debtor's household income in excess of the poverty line before the garnishment is in effect.
The judicial conference shall adopt and make available schedules and worksheets to assist debtors in computing their eligibility for exemption under sub. (2) (b) 1.
The schedules shall divide the annual poverty line for families of various sizes by 12, rounding to the nearest dollar, and the worksheets shall assist debtors to compute their household incomes. The judicial conference shall develop separate schedules for debtors paid on a weekly, biweekly, semimonthly and monthly basis by dividing the annual poverty line by 52, 26, 24 and 12, respectively, and rounding to the nearest dollar. The judicial conference shall revise those schedules annually to reflect changes in the poverty line. The revised schedules shall take effect July 1 for earnings garnishments or extensions commencing thereafter.
Commencement of action. 812.35(1)(1)
To commence an earnings garnishment proceeding, the judgment creditor shall file with the clerk of courts a garnishment notice under s. 812.44 (2)
No earnings garnishment action may be brought to recover the amount owed by a debtor for the payment of a payday loan, as defined in s. 138.14 (1) (k)
Upon receipt of the notice under sub. (1)
and payment of the fee under s. 814.62 (1)
, the clerk of courts shall issue 2 earnings garnishment forms under s. 812.44 (3)
for each garnishee. Blank earnings garnishment forms may be issued, but they shall carry the court seal. A circuit court may permit, by rule, the clerk to issue earnings garnishment forms after payment of the fee but before the filing of the notice under sub. (1)
. That circuit court rule shall require the notice to be filed with the court at a later time, but no later than 5 business days after the date the garnishee is served under sub. (3)
Within 60 days after filing the notice under sub. (1)
and as specified under sub. (4) (c)
, the creditor shall serve one of the 2 earnings garnishment forms upon the debtor by one of the following means:
Any means permissible for the service of a summons in a civil action, other than publication.
Within 60 days after filing the notice under sub. (1)
, the creditor shall serve one of the 2 earnings garnishment forms upon the garnishee by one of the means listed under par. (a) 1.
, or by other means if the garnishee signs an admission of service.
The creditor shall tender the garnishee fee under s. 812.33 (1)
to the garnishee at the time that the earnings garnishment form is served.
The creditor shall serve all of the following on the debtor at the time that the earnings garnishment form is served:
Service on the debtor shall be made within 7 business days after the date of service on the garnishee and at least 3 business days before the payday of the first pay period affected by the garnishment. Service by mail is complete upon mailing.
Upon being served, the garnishee shall determine whether the garnishee may become obligated to the debtor for earnings earned within pay periods beginning within 13 weeks after the date of service. If it is unlikely that the garnishee will become so obligated, the garnishee shall send a statement of that fact to the creditor by the end of the 7th business day after receiving the earnings garnishment form under sub. (3)
. The creditor shall send a copy of this statement to the court within 7 business days after receipt of the statement.
If the garnishee may become obligated to the debtor for earnings earned within pay periods beginning within 13 weeks after the date of service, but one or more earnings garnishments against the debtor have already been served on the garnishee and not terminated, the garnishee shall retain the earnings garnishment form and place the garnishment into effect the pay period after the last of any prior earnings garnishments terminates. The garnishee shall notify the debtor of the amount of the garnishment and shall notify the creditor of the amount owed on the pending garnishments by the end of the 7th business day after receipt of the garnishment form under sub. (3)
. If, before the earnings garnishment takes effect, the garnishee determines that it is unlikely that the garnishee will continue to be obligated to the debtor for earnings, the garnishee shall notify the creditor and court under sub. (5)
within 7 business days after making that determination.
The Wisconsin garnishment statute does not state that a creditor must serve the garnishment form on the debtor even if the debtor is represented by an attorney, and no court has interpreted the statute to require service on the debtor rather than on his or her attorney. Whitehead v. Discover Bank, 221 F. Supp. 3d 1055