Illinois Attorney Blog

What is a wage garnishment?

Illinois judgment collection wage garnishmentA wage garnishment or wage deduction proceeding is a tool for judgment creditors to obtain a court order for nonexempt wages to be paid to the creditor.  In order to proceed with a wage garnishment, the creditor must have a valid and final judgment. In Illinois, wages are defined as any hourly pay, salary, commissions, bonuses, or other compensation that an employer may owe to a judgment debtor. The process of initiating a wage garnishment requires the creditor to serve the judgment debtor and their employer with a variety of documents detailed below.  These are all standard forms found on the clerk of court website where the original judgment was entered.. The employer is required to answer the wage deduction proceeding and withhold wages from its employee who is subject to the proceeding. If an employer fails to answer the proceeding after proper service, a conditional judgment will be entered against the employer for the judgment balance.

Under Illinois law, the amount of wages that are available for collection are 15% of the gross wages or the amount by which disposable earnings for a week exceed 45 times the greater of federal and Illinois minimum wage. See 735 ILCS 5/12-803. Upon service of the employer of a wage deduction summons, a lien is immediately created on the debtor’s wages.  

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If you want to initiate a wage deduction proceeding, you will need to prepare a wage deduction notice which must be served on the defendant and the employer. Next, the wage deduction notice must be mailed to the defendant. Next, a wage deduction affidavit which includes interrogatories to the employer must be sent to the employer as well. Once you have completed these steps, you must prepare a wage deduction summons to be served by the sheriff or a process server. Once this documentation is prepared, you must file it with the court and placed with the sheriff or process server for service, it can also be served via certified mail, return receipt requested. Once the employer has been served with four copies of the affidavit, interrogatories, the summons and wage deduction notice, it should be filed with the court. Given the complexities of preparing the wage garnishment proceeding, you should contact an attorney to assist you. has significant experience in collecting on judgments in Illinois via wage garnishments. Please contact us today to discuss if a wage garnishment is the appropriate remedy for you to collect on a judgment obtained in Illinois.  Schedule a free consultation with an attorney