Garnishment means taking something away. Wage garnishment is how creditors can collect a debt. They get funds withheld (not given to you) directly from your paycheck. If you fail to pay your credit card debt or a medical bill, you can be sued by the creditor. 

Generally, the creditor needs to get a court order before it can garnish your wages. In New York, wage garnishment is also called an income execution. The creditor will send a notice of income execution to an enforcement officer. In the five boroughs of New York, the enforcement office is the New York City Marshal. In other parts of the state, the enforcement officer is the county’s sheriff. New York City has a sheriff, but the sheriff is usually involved in debts that are more than $25,000. 

Federal law and New York state law limit the amount of money creditors can garnish. So, your entire paycheck can’t be withheld. Wage garnishment laws also exempt (leave out) certain income.

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Last Reviewed: May 19, 2023