Some courts call the process a third party citation to discover assets, and other courts call it a non-wage garnishment. In fact, some courts use one name on some of their forms and the other name on other forms.
When you go to the circuit clerk's office or look online for the forms on the circuit court's website, remember that the forms might have either name. This will help you be sure that you have found all the forms that you need to use to get the money that the debtor owes to you.
The procedures for the citation to a third party or for a non-wage garnishment are very similar to the procedures for a Citation to Discover Assets directed to the debtor and for wage deduction from the debtor's employer.
The summons must be given to the third party by:
- The sheriff; or
- Certified or registered mail
- Restricted delivery if to an individual
In all counties except Cook, the clerk can also mail the summons for you.
Once the bank or other third party gets the summons and other papers, it must freeze the debtor's account until the court decides whether it must turn the money over to you. There is an exception to this rule on freezing an account when the money in the account comes from Social Security benefits. This is a complicated rule, so ask the bank or a lawyer if you have questions.
Two days after the sheriff serves the summons on the bank or other third party, the sheriff will send the notice to the debtor. If you or the circuit clerk is serving the notice by certified or registered mail, then you or the clerk will mail the notice to the debtor two days after mailing to the bank. This delay helps prevent the debtor from taking his or her money out of the bank account before the bank receives and processes the citation or garnishment papers and freezes the account.
Updated: January 2017