What is Statute of Limitations To Garnish Wages or Bank Accounts

First of all, let’s formally define statute of limitations once again. It is the period of time allowed to file a lawsuit. The length of time assigned for a statute of limitations varies depending upon the underlying lawsuit. For example, in the state of Virginia, the statute of limitations for personal injury is 2 years; for contract in writing, 5 years and for contracts not in writing, 3 years; and for repossessions of consumer goods, including cars, 4 years.

A garnishment, however, is a secondary proceeding in court based upon the first judgment which is filed after the initial lawsuit. Judgments can be filed anywhere from 6 months to 5 years after the initial lawsuit. The statute of limitations on garnishment is also variable depending upon the court in which the case was recorded. If the underlying judgment is recorded in general district court, then the statute of limitations is 10 years from the date of the judgment.

However, if the judgment is recorded in circuit court, the statute of limitations is 20 years from the date of the judgment. Here’s where is can get a bit tricky – your case can be filed in a general district court, yet still be recorded in the circuit court, subjecting you to the 20 year statute of limitations on your garnishment.

There is a way to determine if your case has been recorded in either the general district court or the circuit court. Your garnishment will be assigned a case number. If your case number begins with the letters GV, followed by a series of numbers, then your case was recorded in general district court. If it begins with the letters CL, followed by a series of numbers, then it was recorded in circuit court.  Not all cases do  have to be recorded in the circuit court. Parties have the option to file in circuit court if they feel they need more time, but it is only an option.

Virginia state law stipulates that an entity can only perform one garnishment at a time for a maximum of 6 months. However, there is no limit on the amount of times a company can garnish you. One thing, however, is unclear, and that is exactly what happens if a garnishment is issued at such time that it violates the statute of limitations timeline. For example, let’s say your case was recorded in general district court, so your statute of limitations is 10 years from the date of judgment. The company issuing your garnishment decides to do so 9 years and 11 months into your timeline. If this occurs, you may, in fact have a case for dispute. Now is the time to hire an attorney.



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Krumbein Consumer Legal Services, Inc.
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Richmond, VA 23230