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California Garnishment: What you need to know

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.
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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.).
Child support is defined by law as the ongoing monetary expenditures and payments necessary to cover a child’s living and medical expenses. Both parents have a legal duty to provide financial support for their children. A court may order either or both parents to make ongoing payments to cover a child’s living and medical expenses. The Income Withholding Order for Support (IWO) is the order served on employers to withhold an employee’s wages for payment of child support. This form may also be referred to as wage assignment, garnishment order, and income withholding order. An employer may receive an order from a local child support agency (LCSA), private party, or another state’s child support agency. The notice tells employers how much to withhold from an employee’s earnings for current support, arrears, or both. It tells employers where and how to send in payments and explains an employer's rights and responsibilities under California law. Included with the order is a document called the ...

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