Tennessee Garnishment laws & HR compliance analysis

Tennessee 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 Tennessee draws a distinction between garnishments for support obligations and garnishments for other kinds of debts.
There are numerous federal and state laws pertaining to garnishment. Where state law is more restrictive than federal law (i.e., by protecting a greater amount of salary from garnishment), state law will govern. Specific state laws include TN Code Sec. 36-5-501et seq. concerning garnishments for support and TN Code Sec. 26-2-201et seq. concerning garnishments for other kinds of debts.
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If an employee's wages are being garnished for family support, the employer will receive an order for assignment of income from the court stating a specific amount that should be withheld from each paycheck. The amount will include current support obligations, an amount sufficient to satisfy an accumulated arrearage within a reasonable time, and an amount to cover any medical expenses currently owed by the employee. The employer must begin withholding pursuant to the support order within 14 days of receipt of the notice. Amounts withheld must be sent to the court or to the party designated in the support order within 7 days of the payday on which it was withheld, until further notice from the court. If the employee leaves the job while a support order is in effect, the employer is required to notify the clerk of the court, giving the employee's name and last known address, along with the address of any new employer, if known. Support orders from other states are binding on employers as if they had been ...

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