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Kansas Collection Laws

I owe money to a creditor in Kansas. What can the creditor do to try to collect the account from me?

I live in Kansas, and a collection agent is trying to collect a debt from me. What rights are involved?

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Updated: Oct 23, 2014

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A collection agent or law firm that owns a collection account is a creditor. A creditor has several legal means of collecting a debt. But before the creditor can start, the creditor must go to court to receive a judgment. See the Bills.com resource Served Summons and Complaint to learn more about this process.

The court may decide to grant a judgment to the creditor. A judgment is a declaration by a court that the creditor has the legal right to demand a wage garnishment, a levy on the debtor's bank accounts, and a lien on the debtor's property. A creditor that is granted a judgment is called a "judgment-creditor." Which of these tools the creditor will use depends on the circumstances. We discuss each of these remedies below.

Kansas Wage Garnishment

The most common method used by judgment-creditors to enforce judgments is wage garnishment. A judgment-creditor contacts your employer and requires the employer to deduct a certain portion of your wages each pay period and send the money to the creditor.

In most states, creditors may garnish between 10% and 25% of your wages, with the percentage allowed determined by state law. Garnishment of Social Security benefits or pensions for consumer debt is not allowed under federal or Kansas law (Kansas 60-2308), but may be allowed for child support. See the Bills.com Wage Garnishment article to learn more.

Kansas garnishment rules are found in Kansas Chapter 60 Article 7. In Kansas law, "Garnishment is a procedure whereby the wages, money or intangible property of a person can be seized or attached pursuant to an order of garnishment issued by the court under the conditions set forth in the order." Kansas follows federal limits for garnishment (60-734). See the Dept. of Labor's Employment Law Guide - Wage Garnishment and the Dept. of the Treasury's Answers About Garnishments. Municipal and state employees may be garnished.

Kansas Wage Garnishment Exemptions

Kansas restricts wage garnishment for collection agents. Under K.S.A. 60-2310(d), "If any person, firm or corporation sells or assigns an account to any person or collecting agency, that person, firm or corporation or their assignees shall not have or be entitled to the benefits of wage garnishment." This exemption does not apply to:

  • Support payments (K.S.A. 39-709 and 39-756 and 42 U.S.C. § 651 et seq.)
  • Taxes receivable (K.S.A. 75-3728b)
  • Debts owed to courts or restitution owed under an order of restitution (K.S.A. 75-719)

Levy Bank Accounts

A levy means that the creditor has the right to take whatever money in a debtor's account and apply the funds to the balance of the judgment. Again, the procedure for levying bank accounts, as well as what amount, if any, a debtor can claim as exempt from the levy, is governed by state law. Many states exempt certain amounts and certain types of funds from bank levies, so a debtor should review his or her state's laws to find if a bank account can be levied. In some states levy is called attachment or account garnishment. The names may vary but the concept is the same.

In Kansas, levy law is intertwined with garnishment law. Property can be attached (garnished) in Kansas under Kansas Chapter 60 Article 7. Intangible property, such as accounts receivables, can be garnished (60-732). Funds held by a financial institution can be garnished as well (60-733).

In most states, including Kansas, 401(K) and other retirement funds are exempt from levy/account garnishment (K.S.A. 60-2308). It is advisable to have those funds deposited into a separate bank account to ensure financial accounting if you are concerned about garnishment on those payments.

If you reside in another state, see the Bills.com Account Levy resource to learn more about the general rules for this remedy.

Lien

A lien is an encumbrance -- a claim -- on a property. For example, if the debtor owns a home, a creditor with a judgment has the right to place a lien on the home, meaning that if the debtor sells or refinance the home, the debtor will be required to pay the judgment out of the proceeds of the sale or refinance. If the amount of the judgment is more than the amount of equity in your home, then the lien may prevent the debtor from selling or refinancing until the debtor can pay off the judgment.

Kansas laws governing liens are found in Kansas Revised Statute Chapter 58 Article 2. Liens are allowed on real property. Liens are also allowed on building materials, crops, and livestock if the plaintiff is the defendant's supplier. Liens are allowed for labor and materials. Liens are allowed for judgments under Kansas 60-2202 and become a lien on the real property of the judgment debtor.

Succinctly, liens are allowed for contractors and farm suppliers. Judgments can be enforced as a lien on the defendant's real property.

If you reside in another state, see the Bills.com Liens & How to Resolve Them article to learn more.

Kansas Statutes of Limitations

Statute of Limitations for most Kansas consumer debt issues are found in Chapter 60, Article 5 K.S.A. 60-512.

Account/Type Years Statute
Kansas statutes of limitations. Source: Bills.com
Credit card 3 or 5*  
Spoken contract 3 K.S.A. 60-512(1)
Written contract 5 K.S.A. 60-511(1)
Promissory note 6 K.S.A. 84-3-118
Check 6 K.S.A. 84-3-118
Certified check 3 K.S.A. 84-3-118
Judgment** 5 K.S.A 60-2403a(a)(1)
*Internet commentators argue if the credit card issuer cannot produce a contract signed by the the consumer, Kansas' oral contract statute of limitations applies. We cannot find Kansas case law supporting that argument. Consult with a Kansas lawyer for advice.
**Can be revived if less than 2 years has passed since judgment became dormant. Kansas domestic judgments for child support never become dormant.

Collection agents violate the FDCPA if they file a debt collection lawsuit against a consumer after the statute of limitation expired (Kimber v. Federal Financial Corp. 668 F.Supp. 1480 (1987) and Basile v. Blatt, Hasenmiller, Liebsker & Moore LLC, 632 F. Supp. 2d 842, 845 (2009)). Unscrupulous collection agents sue in hopes the consumer will not know this rule.

Recommendation

Consult with an Kansas attorney experienced in civil litigation to get precise answers to your questions about liens, levies, and garnishment in Kansas.

I hope this information helps you Find. Learn & Save.

Best,

Bill

Bills.com

40 Comments

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  • AK
    Apr, 2014
    ashley
    My grandpa passed away less than a month ago. When my grandma and him got divorced 11 years ago, the divorce decree stated that he was to pay my aunt and uncle $3,000. They are saying I have to pay it since I'm his executor of estate. He didn't have anything but his life insurance policy, which he left that to me. Can they take me to court and sure me for the money?
    0 Votes

    • BA
      Apr, 2014
      Bill
      Because you asked your question on a page related to Kansas law, I will assume you reside in Kansas, or your grandfather did.

      You mentioned you are the executor of your grandfather's estate. You need to learn about your duties under probate law in general, and Kansas probate law in particular. Accordingly, consult with a lawyer who has Kansas probate law experience to learn how to handle the claim made by your aunt and uncle. Do not automatically assume they are owed anything from your grandfather's estate or from you personally.
      1 Votes

  • JA
    Mar, 2014
    JW
    I am curious about debt collector contacts. Does a lawyer or debt collector have to try to make and maintain contact with you about the debt? If a lawyer is trying to collect on a debt, even has an award on it from a court, should they not be trying to make and maintain some type of an attempt to collect?

    As I do debt collections through my job, we have to call people have outstanding debt every day to get into contact with them. Doesn't a debt collector/lawyer have to do the same?
    0 Votes

    • BA
      Mar, 2014
      Bill
      Don't confuse your employer's policy to attempt frequent debtor contacts with what the law requires.

      I assume you reside in Kansas, the lawyer you speak of filed a breach of contract lawsuit against you, and won. If so, the victory resulted in a judgment. Judgments have their own statute of limitations. In Kansas, the judgment statute of limitations is 5 years, but it can be revived after the 5-year clock runs out. In Kansas, the judgment-creditor can attempt to use the judgment to collect from the judgment-debtor at any time while the judgment is valid. No state requires the judgment-creditor to pester the judgment-debtor while the judgment is valid.

      If you can afford to negotiate a settlement to the debt, by all means open a negotiation with the judgment-creditor and put this matter behind you.
      1 Votes

  • LS
    Mar, 2014
    Lucifer
    According to the Kansas Statutes, a credit card company can sell off your debt to 2nd party and that 2nd party isn't allowed to garnish your wages. My question: If you can prove money deposited into your bank account is from wages, can they still take money from your account ?
    0 Votes

    • BA
      Mar, 2014
      Bill
      Your observation about K.S.A. 60-2310 outlawing wage garnishment for collection agents appears to be correct.

      I cannot find if the garnishment prohibition applies to account levy (sometimes called account garnishment). Consult with a Kansas lawyer who has consumer law experience to learn if it does.
      1 Votes

  • KM
    Feb, 2014
    Kelli
    Today I received a copy of an order for garnishment from my employer. I live out of state, but the order of garnishment is dated Jan 21st, 2014. It has a case number from 2009 and it is for a debt that was put on my credit report in Dec 2008. According to the statute of limitations on a written contract in Kansas (5 years on a written contract) this is outside of the statute. Does it make a difference that the court order was from 2009? Or can I petition the court because it is outside of the SOL?
    0 Votes

    • BA
      Feb, 2014
      Bill
      The timeline you shared is confusing to me, and I cannot offer meaningful answers to your questions. If you're a Kansas resident, your best source of advice is a Kansas lawyer. If you cannot afford a lawyer, contact Kansas Legal Services or another Kansas pro bono program to find no-cost legal advice.
      0 Votes

  • EB
    Jan, 2014
    Eric
    In 2008, a collection agent obtained a judgment against me in Sedwich Co, KS. Being unaware and unable to attend due to being in the middle of a relocation to K.C.K., I didn't appear. Now after this time and research I've learned the SOL for open ended accounts is 3 years. I'm almost positive at that time the debt would have been outside that. I called the attorney's office and settled and they informed me they would notify the court and have the judgement removed. I'm still paying on the account even though is was ~$2k. but the judgment still is on my C.R. basically they didn't do what they agreed upon in the settlement nor did I receive notice that they informed the court of the agreement. Has too much time passed to get the judgment vacated or removed from my record? Should I approach the Credit Bureaus? File a motion to vacate based on breach of agreement? Or that it was outside the SOL and no validation was given?
    0 Votes

    • BA
      Jan, 2014
      Bill
      Consult with a lawyer in your state who has civil litigation experience to learn if you have a cause of action against the collection agent's lawyer for breach of contract. Also ask about filing a motion to vacate the judgment. It might be too late to file such a motion, but it never hurts to ask.
      0 Votes