Can Retiree’s Checks Be Garnished?

Question: I am a retired Marine Corps colonel living in Sun City with my wife of 47 years. Several years ago, our son and his wife wanted to borrow money for landscaping and a swimming pool in their backyard. We wanted our grandchildren to have a nice backyard, so we co-signed on the loan. Our son and his wife have now lost the home to foreclosure and have filed for bankruptcy. The lender has hired a collections attorney to hound us. This collections attorney says that the paychecks of federal employees, including military personnel, can be garnisheed to pay off a debt. Is that true? If so, does that include retired military paychecks that are equivalent to Social Security, which I understand cannot be garnisheed by a creditor?

Answer: The paychecks of military and other federal employees, and the paychecks of state employees and city employees, can be garnisheed by a creditor. Pension plans and other retirement benefits, however, generally cannot be garnisheed. Therefore, you are correct that your retired military payments are similar to Social Security and cannot be garnisheed by the collections attorney for the lender.

If you would like assistance regarding commercial or residential transactions, potential litigation, HOA issues, estate planning or other legal matters, please call our office at 602.957.9810 and arrange for an initial consultation with one of our real estate attorneys.

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