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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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.

n 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.

ollection 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

26 Comments

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  • AR
    Mar, 2013
    Amy
    My husband currently pays $400 a month through the state for child support which is about 40% of his disposable income. He just got sued for his ex wifes medical debt from when they were separated. They refused us anything less than $200 a month or us paying the total. Can they garnish anymore of his wages? And his name isn't on anything not on the house or our 2 vehicles, or my checking account. So can they come after these things? We are in the process of filing for bankruptcy simply because including this debt we have made over 12000 in medical debt but we need to wait 2 months for personal reasons.
    0 Votes

    • BA
      Mar, 2013
      Bill
      You answered your first question in the first sentence of your comment. Kansas follows federal limits for wage garnishment. The maximum a judgment-creditor may garnish is 25% of disposable income. Here, you mentioned your spouse is already paying 40% of his disposable income for child support. (Exceeding the federal 25% limit is allowed for child support.) Any other creditors who have the legal claim to garnish your spouse's wages will need to wait in line until the child support garnishment order expires.

      You asked about any liability you may have for your spouse's debts. You asked this question on a Kansas-related page, so I will assume you reside in Kansas. Kansas is a common law state when it comes to family law. It is not a community property state. Therefore, spouses generally do not have liability for each other's separate debts. You mentioned your vehicles and house are not in your spouse's name. If so, then your spouse's creditors will have no claim to those properties.

      You mentioned filing bankruptcy. Consult with a lawyer in your state who has bankruptcy experience. Most lawyer-filed bankruptcy cases succeed. By contrast, most self-filed bankruptcy cases fail. Be sure to raise your questions here to your bankruptcy lawyer because my answers are based on a very tiny window into your circumstances.
      0 Votes

  • CS
    Mar, 2012
    Chelsey
    Back in 2007, I was charged a fee for using a debit card which took me into the negative, and before I knew it I was negative over $200 not because of my own spending, but because of the fee. I refused to pay because I had not spent any money that would have taken me into the negative. The bank passed my account over to an attorney who I have not had any contact with since 2008 and now out of nowhere I received an order to appear to answer questions about income, assets etc. Upon recieving this notice I got on the court website and noticed that when i was employed the past 9 months my wages had been garnished without any notification. My question is, was the garnishment legal without my being notified? Also, why has this attorney gone almost 4 years without contacting me, and how do I get this to stop?
    0 Votes

    • BA
      Mar, 2012
      Bill
      Apparently, a judgment was entered against you, likely a default judgment. Your not receiving notice did not stop the judge from issuing the garnishment. Perhaps the creditor made a reasonable effort to notify you? Maybe the attorney waited, for any of a variety of reasons, but decided to sue you due to the debt nearing the statute of limitations. Post-judgment, it is hard to get a garnishment stopped. Hopefully, you will have the debt paid off soon and put the matter behind you.
      0 Votes

  • JC
    Jan, 2012
    Jessyca
    Are payday loan companies or any other companies that are required to do collections allowed to come to their clients job to attempt to collect debts. This goes for a store in the state of KS collections will be done in both KS and MO
    0 Votes

    • BA
      Jan, 2012
      Bill
      I know of no state that prohibits in-person collection of debt. However, this is a rare occurrence for several reasons, including the high cost of person-to-person collections, and the risk of persistent collectors being arrested for trespassing. Consult with a lawyer who has consumer law experience in your state to learn the precise rules that govern the practice of debt collection in your state.
      0 Votes

  • AA
    Jan, 2012
    A
    With no disrespect to Bill who is clearly educated on the subject, I just wanted to clear up the misinformation about open-ended accounts. The statute of limitations is 3 years.
    0 Votes

    • BA
      Jan, 2012
      Bill
      Thank you for your message. We updated the page above with this information and corrected the link the relevant Kansas statute.

      This is a good opportunity to remind readers that Bills.com makes reasonable efforts to publish accurate information, but we make mistakes. The information here is intended to help people understand their rights and liabilities, and it is not intended to replace consultation with a lawyer.
      0 Votes

  • DR
    Sep, 2011
    Dawn
    In the summer of 2005, I was 18 but still under my mother's health insurance and living in her home as a full-time student. I went to the hospital twice in a couple of weeks due to two separate injuries. I do not remember signing anything and I wouldn't say that I didn't, but because the insurance was under her name I can't imagine that I did. Anyhow, I lived in Kansas until I was 21, almost 22 (which means I was there for 3 years) and I had not received any communications about the debt they now say I owe. It has now been 6 years since the debt was incurred and I received a notice stating I had an obligation to dispute, pay, or set up payment arrangements within 30 days. I read Kansas has a statute of limitations of 5 years, but I also read that there's a claus for out-of-state defenders. I never took steps to "conceal" my address or escape legal action - I have had credit in my name where I used current addresses for the past 3 or 4 years. My question is - do you think the statute of limitations still applies to me since I was in Kansas for 3 years without being given notice of this debt, or do I still need to worry about facing legal action?
    0 Votes

    • BA
      Sep, 2011
      Bill
      Statute of limitations questions are tricky. You bring up one potential issue, tolling. Tolling is when the running clock on the statute of limitations is stopped, giving the creditor additional time to collect on the debt because it was prevented from reasonably pursuing collections due to an action that the debtor has taken or due to some factor affecting the debtor. For example, some states allow a statute of limitations to be tolled if the debtor resides outside of the state in which the contract's laws apply.

      Your best course of action is to speak with an attorney who can review the SOL and tolling issues with you.
      0 Votes