I lost in Small Claims Court, but can’t afford to pay. What can I do?
Question & AnswerI lost in Small Claims Court, but can’t afford to pay. What can I do?
4. Ask for a garnishment hearing
The can ask the court for a order. Garnishment is when the money you owe is taken directly from:
- an income source, such as your wages, or
- your bank account.
A creditor can’t garnish more than 20 percent of your wages. For example, if you make $1,000 per week, they can only garnish up to $200.
In most cases, they can’t garnish the following even if you’ve deposited the payment into your bank account:
- employment insurance
- social assistance
- pension payments
But some government organizations can garnish your pension or social assistance payments.
The creditor must you with:
Someone else may be entitled to part of your income or money in the bank. This is called a of the debt. When this happens, the court can only order that your part of the money be garnished. For example, if you have a joint bank account with one other person, no more than half of the account can be garnished.
If you disagree with a garnishment order
You can ask for a garnishment hearing if:
- You disagree with the Notice of Garnishment you were served, or
- The garnishment will create real financial hardship for you.
At the hearing, you can ask a judge to change the order for garnishment. For example, you can ask that less money be taken from your wages.
To ask for a garnishment hearing, complete a Notice of Garnishment Hearing. You can get this form at the court.
Serve the Notice of Garnishment to:
- your creditor
- any co-owners of your debt
- anyone else affected by your garnishment, such as your employer if your wages are being garnished
You can serve it:
- in person
- by mail or fax
- by courier
After you’ve served the Notice of Garnishment Hearing, file it at the court.
Another person may owe the debt with you. This person is called a co-owner of the debt. The co-owner of the debt can also ask for a garnishment hearing. Their request must be made within 30 days of their receiving a Notice of the Garnishment.