Massachusetts 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. The state of Massachusetts draws a distinction between garnishments for support obligations and garnishments for other kinds of debts.
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There are numerous state and federal laws pertaining to garnishment. Where state law is more restrictive than federal law (i.e., by protecting a greater amount of salary from garnishment), then state law will govern. Specific state laws include MA Gen. Laws Ch. 246 Sec. 1et seq.; Ch. 119A Sec. 12; Ch. 221B Sec. 7; Ch. 208 Sec. 36A.
Annuities, pensions, profit sharing plans, Keogh Plans, 401K plans, or Simplified Employee Plans, may not be attached or distributed to satisfy any consumer debt or liability, but may be garnished in the case of an order of a court concerning divorce, alimony, child support, to satisfy a monetary penalty for a crime, or to make restitution to the victim of a crime.
Family support may include child support, spousal support, and health insurance. The employer receives a notice of assignment that specifies the amount to be withheld from each paycheck and where to send the funds. Upon receiving such an order, the employer must immediately provide a copy of the order to the employee. Withholding must begin the first payday occurring more than three business days after the employer receives the order, and remittance of the amount must be made within three business days after withholding. Income withholding must continue until further notice from the court, or until the employee leaves the job.
If the employee leaves the job, the employer must notify the person ...

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