Attachment of Earnings Order (AEO)

An attachment of earnings is where a creditor applies to the court for an order to allow them to take funds direct from your wages if you fail to keep up repayments on a debt. Your employer must by law deduct the monies from your wages and make payments to the creditor up until the time the debt is paid off.

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If the creditor has issued you a County Court Judgement and you have fallen behind with at least one payment, and you owe more than £50, a creditor is within their rights to apply to the court for an Attachment of Earnings.

An attachment of earnings order cannot be applied for if the debtor is unemployed or self-employed, in the army, navy or air force or a merchant seaman.

If an attachment of earnings has been issued against you, you will receive a letter from the court and an attachment of earnings form to fill in requesting your employment details and income and expenditure. The court will ask you to pay the amount owed in full, if you cannot afford this, you will need to fill in the form and send it back to the court.

If you have received a form, you MUST fill this form in and return it as soon as possible. Failure to return the form will result in the court sending a bailiff to issue the form by hand. If you fail to return the form after that and the court believes you have received the form, a warrant of arrest could be issued against you and a bailiff will be sent to collect you and may take you to the court to fill in the form.

The amount you will be asked to pay will depend on your financial situation. The officer will take into consideration how much you need to live on i.e. food, rent/mortgage, essentials and bills. If you are a low wage earner, it might be that an Attachment of Earnings is rejected.

You can ask the court to suspend the order if you don't want your employer contacted. If the court agrees you will be ordered to pay the creditor direct. If you fail to make these payments, the creditor will request a re-issue of the Attachment of Earnings and the order will be sent direct to your employer.

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