A garnishment is a court order to an employer to withhold a sum of money from an employee's earnings for payment of a debt. The state of Hawaii 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.
Garnishment vs. assignment of wages. Garnishment and assignment of wages are both methods of deducting money from an employee's salary to repay his or her debts. Garnishment is an involuntary procedure that is usually conducted when an employee has not paid his or her debts voluntarily. Assignment of wages is generally voluntary. There is additional information on voluntary assignment of wages.