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Civil Division

The civil duties of the Cedar County Sheriff's Office

Civil Process

Directions to Sheriff

Fill out our Directions to Sheriff form to serve civil papers.

Advance Fees for Civil Paper Service

  • Standard Advance Fee for all civil services: $75.00
    • Refunds are given if not all of the advance fee is used


The actual fees for service are added to the amount of the judgment to be garnished. The sheriff's fees will be deducted from the first receipt of garnished funds from the employer. 

If you have the sheriff garnish a bank, most banks require (besides the defendant's name) another identifier such as a social security number or an account number. If you do not have an additional identifier, the sheriff will still serve the garnishment, but your chances of receiving any funds on the garnishment are reduced dramatically. 

In Iowa, garnishments expire in 120 days. After expiration, any funds received will be sent to the appropriate Clerk of Court. Federal and state laws determine the maximum amount, if any, which can be garnished from a defendant's paycheck and annually. 

The Civil Process

Pursuant to the Iowa Court Rules (Rules of Civil Procedure), after serving a document with a court case number, the Return of Service will be electronically filed with the issuing Clerk of Court unless requested to do differently. If no court case number is indicated, the Return of Service will be sent to the person or firm who requested the service.

Before the Cedar County Sheriff's Office will serve any civil process, Directions to the Sheriff and the required advance fees must be received along with the documents you want served. You must also give the office the last known address of the defendant and any attorney of record per Iowa Code, as the Sheriff's Office is required to give them notice by restricted certified mail and regular mail, once the garnishment has been served. 

Attorneys and financial institutions in Iowa can be billed, once service is made the Return of Service will be e-filed but if the payment for fees is not made in a reasonable amount of time. And future paper service will require a $75 advance fee and will not be completed until all fees are paid in full.