Garnishment is a legal process by which a portion of a person’s earnings or assets is withheld to satisfy a debt. This process typically involves a court order instructing an employer or a financial institution to redirect a portion of the debtor’s wages or funds to the creditor. Garnishment is commonly used in the context of unpaid debts, such as child support, taxes, student loans, or other financial obligations.

There are different types of garnishment, including:

1. **Wage Garnishment:** This is the most common form of garnishment and involves the deduction of a specified percentage of an employee’s wages to repay a debt. Wage garnishment typically requires a court order, and federal and state laws establish limits on the amount that can be garnished from a person’s paycheck.

2. **Bank Account Garnishment:** A court order can be issued to freeze or garnish funds in a bank account to satisfy a debt. The financial institution may be required to withhold a specific amount, allowing the creditor to collect what is owed.

3. **Tax Refund Garnishment:** Government agencies, such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or state tax authorities, may garnish a taxpayer’s income tax refund to recover unpaid taxes or other government debts.

4. **Property or Asset Garnishment:** In some cases, a court may order the garnishment of a debtor’s property or assets to satisfy a debt. This could include real estate, vehicles, or other valuable possessions.

It’s important to note that garnishment is a legal process, and creditors typically need to obtain a court order before initiating garnishment. The process may vary depending on the type of debt, jurisdiction, and applicable laws.

Certain types of income are protected from garnishment to ensure that individuals can meet their basic living expenses. For example, federal law protects a portion of an employee’s wages from garnishment, and certain benefits, such as Social Security benefits, are generally exempt from garnishment.

Garnishment laws can be complex, and individuals facing the possibility of garnishment are often advised to seek legal advice to understand their rights and explore potential options for addressing their financial obligations.