Post Judgment Remedies in New Jersey: Wage Executions

A wage execution is an order issued by a judge directing an employer to deduct money from a judgment-debtor’s wages.

N.J.S.A. § 2A:17-50 allows execution (garnishment) of the “wages, debts, earnings, salary, income from trust funds, or profits of the judgment debtor.” The amount to be deducted on a wage execution may not exceed 10% of the defendant’s gross salary. Monies may not be withheld if disposable weekly earnings are less than $217.50 per week or $435.00 every 2 weeks.

The proceedings are initiated by sending the judgment debtor a Notice of Application for wage execution by certified and ordinary mail. The Notice advises the defendant that the judgment creditor is seeking a wage execution order; that the defendant must file a written objection within ten (10) days; that if the defendant objects within ten days, the matter will be scheduled for hearing; and that if no objection is filed, no further notice will be given and an Order will be signed by the Judge as a matter of course.

Once the wage execution is served upon the defendant’s place of business by the court officer or sheriff it becomes a lien and continuing levy upon the defendant’s wages, earnings, salary or profits due. Unlike some other jurisdictions, there is no need to “renew” the wage execution; it remains in effect until it is fully satisfied or the defendant leaves the place of business. Remittances are made by court officers and sheriffs on a regular basis.

Only one wage execution may be satisfied at a time, and such executions are satisfied in the order of priority in which they are served.

Under New Jersey law, the judgment debtor can request–and is entitled to–a hearing to challenge the wage execution even after it is served.

As compensation for an employer’s administrative expenses, the employer is entitled to retain 5% of the funds deducted under a wage execution. N.J.S.A. §2A:17-53.

If the employer or other entity required to make payment fails or refuses to make the deductions/payments required by the execution, the employer may be sued by the judgment creditor. N.J.S.A.§2A:17-54

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