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. The state of New Hampshire 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 a debt. Assignment of wages may be either voluntary or involuntary. There is more information on voluntary assignment of wages.
Respond promptly. An employer that is served with a wage garnishment must respond promptly to the notice and any other court papers regarding garnishment. Employers failing to respond to a notice or in any way ignoring a garnishment run the very real risk of being held personally liable for the entire judgment.