Can I cash my payroll check if it was supposed to have been garnished but was mistakenly given to me?

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Can I cash my payroll check if it was supposed to have been garnished but was mistakenly given to me?

The court has placed a garnishment order on me that freezes my bank account and my payroll check for 90 days. I am left with no way to pay my bills. My company did not hold my check and gave it to me today. Can I cash the check and pay my household bills or will I be in contempt of court?

Asked on August 19, 2010 under Bankruptcy Law, Indiana

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The timing of the garnishment order and the issuance of the payroll check could be the answer to what happened here and would have an effect on the answer to this question.  Let's start by establishing a basic rule: it is never proper to knowingly violate a court order.  That being said, in certain states the order goes in to effect 30 days after it is issued.  That could mean that this is your last paycheck before the 90 day freeze.  It could also mean that your employer made a huge mistake on their part.  I would seek help with all of this, including the judgment and the garnishment.  Go and see a debt counselor that can help you with the matter.  Garnishment can be a huge chunk of your pay and you do not want to be left with nothing to pay the other bills in your life.  See if a deal can be worked out.  Good luck.


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