Post Judgment Collections

Garnishment - If you know where money is owed to the defendant, such as wages, bank accounts, etc., you may file a garnishment to collect this money. A plaintiff must wait 21 days after the judgment has been entered to file a writ of garnishment. The garnishment is filed against the person or business having possession of the monies. They are referred to as the garnishee. As previously mentioned, income such as welfare, unemployment, social security, etc., cannot be garnished.

To file a garnishment, you are responsible for the following:

  • The name of the party who owes the defendant money (this will be the garnishee)
  • The proper name and address of the garnishee
  • The amount the defendant still owes you on the judgment

There is a filing fee, a service fee, and a $35 disclosure fee for periodic garnishments. (Unless the State of Michigan is the Garnishee, the fee is $6)

The garnishee has 14 days after they are served with the writ of garnishment to let you, the Court, and the defendant know if there are monies owed (Disclosure (PDF)). In the case of wages, you are not entitled to the defendant's entire paycheck; only a portion of it, as determined by a federal formula (Calculation Sheet) used by the garnishee.

Please note that a garnishment cannot be issued prior to a judgment and once a garnishment has been issued, the Court is powerless to stop it, a Garnishment Release (PDF) needs to be submitted by the plaintiff.

Writ of Execution - If the information necessary to file a garnishment is unknown, but the defendant has physical property, you may want to file a Request Order to Seize Property (PDF). This process allows a Civil Process Officer to seize property to satisfy a money judgment. The Court Officer may require information on the property to be seized, such as vehicle title information, in order to act upon the execution.

A plaintiff must wait 21 days before filing an execution. There is a filing fee for a Writ of Execution.

Discovery Subpoena - If you don't have the information necessary to file a garnishment or a writ of execution, you may file a Judgment/Debtor Discovery Subpoena. This subpoena must name an individual, not a business. It is served on that person ordering them to appear for questioning as to their assets on the date set.  If the party fails to appear, the Judge may issue a Civil Bench Warrant. A plaintiff must wait 21 days before filing a Discovery Subpoena. There is a filing fee required.

Abstract of Judgment - If your suit involves a traffic accident, you may request that the Court prepare an abstract of judgment which would suspend the driver's license (Michigan only) of the defendant until the judgment has been satisfied. When filing an Abstract of Judgment, you must wait 30 days after the judgment date and must have the defendant's full name, date of birth, and Michigan driver's license number. There is no fee for filing.

Interest on Judgment - Interest may be calculated on small claim judgments. Interest rates change every six months and are available on the Michigan Department of Treasury Website. Court staff cannot provide assistance in computing interest. If you request that interest be included in your judgment, you must provide the Court with a written summary of the calculated interest you are requesting.

For further information please visit the Michigan Legal Help Website.