If a civil lawsuit is filed seeking the recovery of money, the plaintiff (the person suing) can request that the court issue a writ of attachment. Attachment is a type of prejudgment process in which the court orders the sheriff to seize or attach the property described in the writ. The property is held in the sheriff's custody until a judgment is rendered in the case. The property is seized as a means of securing payment if the plaintiff obtains a judgment against the defendant (the person being sued). The attachment is not an independent action but is ancillary to the civil action for money. If the plaintiff wins the lawsuit, he/she can obtain the sale of the attached property in order to pay the amount of the judgment.
Garnishment, also called wage execution or wage garnishment, is a court-ordered method of debt collection. Garnishment is a legal procedure in which part of a person's salary is paid to a judgment creditor. A judgment creditor is a plaintiff who has recovered a judgment against a defendant (judgment debtor), but the judgment has not been satisfied or paid. Garnishment involves the judgment creditor's seizure of money, which is owed to the judgment debtor, from a third party (the garnishee). For example, if a wife recovers a judgment for child support against the husband, and the child support has not been paid, the wife could have the husband's wages garnished. This means the husband's employer (the garnishee) would withhold part of the husband's earnings for payment of the child support debt. By law, no more than 25 percent of a person's disposable earnings can be garnished in any pay period.
Replevin is a legal proceeding to recover personal property from the person who has possession of it. A person who claims that he/she has title to the personal property and that another has wrongfully taken it can file an action in replevin to recover the specific property. An action in replevin is based on an unlawful detention of personal property. The item of personal property has to be specifically identifiable. Generally, the plaintiff can recover the personal property before a judgment is rendered in the case if the plaintiff files a bond or cash deposit with the court. This bond or deposit ensures that the plaintiff will return the property to the defendant if the plaintiff loses the case.