A garnishment is a court order to an employer (the garnishee) to withhold a sum of money from an employee's earnings for payment of a debt. The state of Oklahoma draws a distinction between garnishments for support obligations (called “income assignments” or “wage withholding”) and garnishments for all other debts. Both sorts of garnishment are encompassed in OK Stat. Sec. 12-1171 et seq.
There are numerous state and federal provisions 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. wage assignment. Garnishment and assignment of wages are both methods of deducting money from an employee's earnings to repay his or her debts. Garnishment is an involuntary procedure that is usually conducted when the employee has not paid his or her debts voluntarily. Assignment of wages is a voluntary proceeding in which the employee agrees to the deduction.
Note: Generally, Oklahoma child support orders are referred to as income assignments. This term should not be confused with voluntary assignments--as, for example, to make payments on a loan. Assignments of the latter type originate with the employee and not the courts.
Exemption. Seventy-five percent of all earnings during the last 90 days before garnishment begins are exempt from garnishments, but not from child support obligations.