from the District Court of Fremont County The Honorable
Norman E. Young, Judge.
Representing Appellant: James R. Salisbury, The Salisbury
Firm, P.C., Cheyenne, Wyoming
Representing Appellee: No appearance.
DAVIS, C.J., and FOX, KAUTZ, BOOMGAARDEN, and GRAY, JJ.
Bruce Knell, Jr. and Tanya Knell were divorced in 2015, and
in 2018 Ms. Knell applied for a writ of garnishment against
Mr. Knell's earnings for amounts owing under the property
division ordered by the district court. Over Mr. Knell's
objection, the district court ruled the garnishment
enforceable, and Mr. Knell appealed. We reverse.
This appeal presents a single issue: Did the garnishment
ordered by the district court exceed the statutory limits on
The Knells divorced in 2015. Pursuant to the divorce decree,
Mr. Knell was ordered to pay child support for the
couple's three children in the amount of $1, 393.00 per
month. The decree ordered:
[P]resumptive child support for the three minor children
shall be set at $1, 393.00. The first payment shall be due on
June 1, 2015. Subsequent payments shall be made on or before
the 1stday of each month thereafter until said
children reach the age of majority and graduate from high
school, or become otherwise emancipated. All child support
payments shall be made payable to the Clerk of District Court
and sent to the Clerk of District Court, Ninth Judicial
District, Fremont County Courthouse, P.O. Box 370, Lander, WY
82520, and shall include the Civil Number of this case. The
parties shall comply with W.S. §§ 20-6-201 through
20-6-222 as necessary to provide for the child support as
herein set forth.
Mr. Knell was also ordered to pay Ms. Knell the sum of $541,
873.10 for her 49% ownership interest in the couple's
business. With regard to that payment, the decree provided:
The plaintiff [Mr. Knell] shall pay the defendant the sum of
$541, 873.10 for her 49% ownership (equity) interest, in
Knell Transport, LLC, as valued on December 31, 2013 and
computed as set forth above. The defendant is granted a
judgment against the plaintiff for said amount. The plaintiff
shall pay the defendant the amount of $541, 873.10 within 90
(ninety) days of the date of this judgment and decree in cash
or certified funds. No interest shall be due provided the
full amount is paid within the 90 (ninety) days. Any part of
said sum not paid in full within 90 (ninety) days should bear
interest at the statutory rate of 10%. A judicial lien is
hereby imposed on all of the assets set over to the
plaintiff, including all real and personal property, as well
as any and all after acquired property both real and
personal, as well as the ownership interest in Knell
Transportation, LLC, and the same are encumbered by such
judicial lien until such time as the $541, 873.10 is paid by
the plaintiff to the defendant as set forth above.
On March 23, 2018, Ms. Knell filed an application for
issuance of a writ of continuing garnishment of Mr.
Knell's wages. The application identified the amount
still owing as $499, 826.88, plus interest. On that same
date, the clerk of district court issued the requested writ
and served it on Mr. Knell's employer, Knell Enterprises.
Mr. Knell objected to the writ, arguing that because his
child support obligation already resulted in a withholding of
more than 25% of his disposable earnings, a creditor
garnishment was impermissible. In support of his objection,
he submitted an affidavit stating:
5. Before deduction for child support, I receive a gross
monthly income of four thousand dollars ($4, 000.00) from my
employment with Knell Enterprises, LLC, paid in bi-weekly
payroll checks in the amount of two thousand dollars ($2,
000.00) each (a total of two checks).
6. After deductions for FICA, Social Security and Medicare
but before deduction for child support, my net biweekly
payroll check totals one thousand six hundred seventy-five
dollars ($1, 675.00).
7. My net monthly earnings total three thousand three hundred
fifty dollars ($3, 350.00) before deduction of child support.
8. Pursuant to the terms and conditions of the Judgment and
Decree of Divorce entered herein on May 19, 2015, I am
obligated to pay the sum of one thousand three hundred
ninety-three dollars ($1, 393.00) per month in child support
with said obligation commencing on June 1, 2015, and monthly
9. On a monthly basis, approximately forty-two percent
(42.00%) of my net monthly income is committed to payment of
my monthly child support obligation ($1, 393.00/$3, 350.00).
This same percentage applies ...