New Mexico announces phased approach to lift debt collection …
On August 2, the New Mexico Supreme Court issued an order phasing in the use of new writs of garnishment and writs of execution in consumer debt collection cases.
According to a Associated press report, the order will end the New Mexico court system’s moratorium on debt collection remedies.
The New Mexico Supreme Court suspended issuance of new garnishment writs in June 2020 in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, ACA International previously reported.
“We have reached a point in the COVID-19 pandemic where courts can normally handle consumer debt cases and foreclosures in a fair and orderly manner,” Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael E. Vigil said. in a statement to Associated Press.
Vigil added that although protections for consumers affected by the COVID-19 public health emergency and employment challenges have now expired, “the situation is unlikely to be overwhelming” for consumers.
Under the order, the return to normal garnishment practice will follow a phased schedule, with new garnishments and writs of execution being filed on:
September 1, 2021, for judgments filed no later than December 31, 2016.
October 1, 2021, for judgments filed no later than December 31, 2018.
November 1, 2021, for judgments filed no later than December 31, 2019.
January 1, 2022, for judgments filed no later than December 31, 2020.
· February 1, 2022, for all cases, regardless of the date of filing of the judgment.
In addition, the order specifies that any garnishment or writ of execution issued in a consumer debt collection case before June 8, 2020, but never served, will be deemed null and void. [Emphasis added.] In such cases, a judgment creditor may file a new, separate garnishment application or a writ after the suspension has been lifted in accordance with the schedule set out above.
Unemployment benefit payments remain exempt from garnishment or enforcement under New Mexico law, with the onus on the judgment debtor to identify the exempt funds.
Notwithstanding the effect of the ordinance, New Mexico’s moratorium on evictions remains in place, and mortgage lenders remain prohibited from foreclosing on properties without providing forbearance options and resources to homeowners.
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