A garnishment is an order of a court to an employer to withhold a sum of money from the earnings of an employee (the debtor or obligor) for payment of a court- or agency-ordered debt. There are numerous state and federal laws pertaining to the procedure. Where state law is more restrictive than federal law, state law will govern.
Garnishments 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. Assignment is generally voluntary, garnishment generally court ordered. There is additional information on assignments 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 ignore a garnishment run the very real risk of being held personally liable for the entire judgment.