Traverse Law and Legal Definition

A traverse is a legal document that a defendant may file to challenge the facts or plaintiff's assertions. It can be filed to challenge the amounts contained in the affidavit of garnishment, the underlying judgment, or the garnishment action itself, or other matters that are incorrect.

If the judgment on which the garnishment was based is not proper, there are two options:

(1) file a motion to vacate and set aside the judgment; and

(2) file a motion against the garnishment. The second motion is called a Traverse.

Usually, people file only the traverse and omit to file the first motion challenging the judgment. Filing the traverse alone will not help get the desired relief.

In relation to garnishment of wages, filing a traverse gives garnishee right to be heard and for protection of garnishee's rights and interests in the premises. When garnishee answers summons of garnishment, statements in garnishee's answer are accepted as true, and garnishee is discharged from all further liability unless either claimant or defendant files a traverse contesting the answer.

O.C.G.A. § 18-4-65 discusses traverse:

§ 18-4-65. Issues defendant may raise by traverse of plaintiff's affidavit

(a) When garnishment proceedings are based upon a judgment, the defendant, by traverse of the plaintiff's affidavit, may challenge the existence of the judgment or the amount claimed due thereon. The defendant may plead any other matter in bar of the judgment, except as provided in subsection (b) of this Code section.