A garnishment is an order of a court to an employer (the garnishee) to withhold a sum of money from an employee's earnings for payment of a debt. Garnishment is an involuntary procedure that is usually conducted when an employee has not paid his or her debts voluntarily. The state of California draws a distinction between garnishments for support obligations and those for other debts.
There are numerous state and federal laws pertaining to garnishment. Where state laws are more restrictive than federal law (i.e., by protecting a greater amount of salary from garnishment), state laws will govern (CA Code of Civ. Proc. Sec. 706.010et seq.;CA Family Code Sec. 5201et seq.).