Ada County Sheriff

Civil Division FAQ - Ada County Sheriff

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Civil Division FAQ

How will I be notified of the service?

A formal affidavit and return explaining the processing of your paperwork will be mailed to you at the address you supplied with your letter of instruction. It is your responsibility to submit the Sheriff’s Return Affidavit to the courts. The more time allowed for service of the documents, the better chance service will be accomplished.

How much does the Ada County Sheriff's Office charge to serve papers?

Service fees are established by the Ada County Commissioners. View our current fee schedule.

What is the interest rate charged on the collection of judgments?

The interest rate is determined each year by the State Treasurer (Idaho Code 28-22-104). To find out the current rate, please call our office.

What is the garnishment process?

The garnishment process is one of the methods used in the collection of Writs of Execution. A Writ of Execution is a court order to the Sheriff to levy on property of a debtor to satisfy a monetary judgment entered by the courts. Anyone who is in possession or control of property or money of a debtor can be served with a Writ of Execution and Garnishment. The Garnishment orders the party in possession to turn over that property to the Sheriff who served the order. Garnishments can be served on financial institutions, employers for wages, or anyone else who possesses or owes the defendant property or money. Wage garnishments are controlled by the Federal Wage Garnishment Guidelines. The maximum amount the Sheriff can levy on each pay period is 25% of the debtor’s disposable earnings.

Can there be more than one garnishment served on my employer at the same time?

No, only one garnishment can be in place at one time. If more than one judgment is waiting for garnishment on a debtor’s employer, the Sheriff will hold those garnishments in the order they are received by the Sheriff’s Office. When the first judgment is satisfied, the next garnishment is served to the employer. Garnishments will be held for the life of the Writ (normally 60 days) and will be returned if not served prior to expiration.

What happens if the debtor in a judgment files for relief under federal bankruptcy laws?

Once a bankruptcy is filed, all collection activity against that debtor must be halted under an automatic Stay Order. The Sheriff does not halt collection efforts unless written notification of the bankruptcy is supplied to the Civil Division. The Civil Division verifies the bankruptcy and issues a release of the garnishment or collection efforts to the employer. If a plaintiff is not included as a debtor in the bankruptcy, that plaintiff must seek relief from the bankruptcy court. The plaintiff can then present to the Sheriff that order lifting the stay, and the Civil Division resumes collection efforts in that case.

I just received a garnishment, what do I do with the paperwork?

Fill out the acknowledgment of receipt form and return it to the Sheriff’s Office. Faxes are accepted. The employer must answer the interrogatories (questions) on the garnishment form and return it to the Sheriff’s Office. If there is money owed to the debtor, then the wage garnishment guideline should be followed. Garnished wages are sent to the Sheriff, NOT to the plaintiff.

The debtor is no longer employed, do I have to sign and return the garnishment papers?

Yes. You are required by law to return an answer to the Sheriff. Failure to answer a garnishment could result in a judgment being entered against the employer in favor of the plaintiff.

How often do I have to send in payments?

An employer is required to send in the portion allowed under the federal wage guidelines each pay period. The payment will be made to the Sheriff the same as if the defendant was employed and receiving a paycheck.

Can I move the defendant's property out?

No, only the Sheriff’s Office is allowed to remove and levy on property pursuant to a court order. The Sheriff’s Office, acting as the intermediary party in the action, seizes and removes the property and protects the property until disposed at a Sheriff’s sale.

Can I put the tenant's property in storage and make the tenant pay for it?

No, only the Sheriff is allowed to levy on another person’s property and only by court order.

Can I sell the tenant's property and get the money from the sale?

No. Property cannot be taken from a residence for non-payment of rent. Only the Sheriff’s Office can sell property under a court order.

Can I change the locks when I kick my roommate out?

Not unless you have completed the eviction process and the roommate has been evicted by the Sheriff’s Office. Only after a court ordered eviction can you change the locks to keep the person out.

What if the defendants/tenants destroy the property while the Sheriff's Office is waiting for the availability of a moving company?

You have the same rights as any citizen in the State of Idaho. Under Idaho Code 18-7001, every person who maliciously injures or destroys any real or personal property not his own, or any jointly owned property without permission of the joint owner, or any property belonging to the community of the person’s marriage, is guilty of a misdemeanor unless the damage exceeds $1000, in which person is guilty of a felony.