Michigan Periodic Garnishment Reform of 2015

October 1, 2015

On April 14, 2015, the Governor signed House Bill No. 4119 and 4120 making them Public Acts of 2015 Nos. 14 and 15. They will require extensive revisions to the current Michigan Court Rules governing garnishments found at MCR 3.101. The Supreme Court issued proposed rule changes, however, they did not recognize the majority of the statutory changes. Furthermore, the statutory changes require changes to the supreme court-approved garnishment forms. Comments to this effect have been submitted by the State Bar of Michigan and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce. A hearing was held on September 16, 2015 concerning the rules.  

Final rules and forms should be available in the next two weeks.* It is anticipated that the rule and form changes will ultimately mirror the points noted below:

New Processing Provisions:

  • $35 Fee.
  • Garnishment continues until balance of judgment is satisfied.
  • Garnishment must be properly served or it is invalid.
  • Every six months Plaintiff is to provide a balance statement to the Garnishee and Judgment Defendant.
  • Plaintiff is to provide Garnishee and Judgment Defendant a Release of Garnishment within 21 days of satisfaction of the judgment (including all costs and interest).
  • A multi-step process to protect garnishees from liability.
  • A provision limiting liability for garnishees to 56 days of proper withholding.
  • A provision allowing employers to recover any direct liability by withholding from employees without the necessity of obtaining voluntary written consent.

Contributed by Martin C. Brook, Shareholder, Ogletree Deakins.

View the on-demand webinar “Wage Garnishments: New Amendments Effective September 2015” with Martin Brook.

* UPDATE: Visit here for the final rules and forms by the Michigan Supreme Court