What is a Wage Garnishment?
From Timothy C. Springer, YOUR Fresno Bankruptcy Attorney

Fresno (559) 225-3622, Consulta Gratis (559) 225-3025

All premium Magento themes at magentothemesstore.com!
Law Offices of Timothy Springer, Attorneys - Bankruptcy, Fresno, CA

NOTE: If you are looking for more extensive information and options regarding the entire bankruptcy process, CLICK HERE for YOUR Fresno Bankruptcy Attorney, or call us at the numbers above.

What is a Wage Garnishment?

A wage garnishment is when a creditor can have the Sheriff serve you employer with an Order to remove money from your paycheck, and send it to them. In California they are allowed to take up to 25% of your take home pay.

How do I Stop a Wage Garnishment in California

Law Book

The first,(and most important) question is has a garnishment actually started? Often collection agents will say things like "If you don't pay us by Friday, we are going to place a garnishment on your wages!!" The problem with this statement is the average creditor MUST go through a time consuming process before they can do that. There are some exceptions, like tax agencies, (Federal and State Taxes for instance) but the average creditor does NOT have that kind of power. SO THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION IS:


If the answer is no, then the average creditor, (Credit Cards, Medical Bills, Personal loans) cannot garnish, or levy your bank account until they actually go through that process.

Okay, so what is the process?

In California, to start the process you must be served with a Summons and Complaint. If this occurs you will have 30 days to file an Answer to the Complaint. Filing an Answer is telling the Court that you don't believe you owe the debt, and you want to make them prove their case. By doing this you would be forcing them to go through a trial. This can take months.
If you do not file an answer, (like most people in this situation) then on day 31, after you have been served, the creditor can then file for a "Default Judgment". By filing this they are telling the court you have run out of time to answer, and therefore they win. This is how most collection cases go. However, the creditor is still not to the point they can place a garnishment on your wages. The next step to garnishment is to request the Court to give them a "Writ". Then the Writ has to be filed with a Sheriff, and the Sheriff then does their paperwork to prepare an "Earnings Withholding Order." This can take a week or so. This is then served upon your employer, (assuming they know where you work). Or, if they know where you bank they may put a Levy on your bank account. If either of these occur your employer, or bank MUST give you a Notice. Along with the Notice will be instructions on how to file paperwork with the Sheriff's Office to claim any exemptions you may have. (An example of an "exemption" would be funds in a bank account that came from Social Security. Social Security benefits are "exempt" from creditors. That means they cannot take your Social Security to pay the debt.) You will have 10 days to file that paperwork with the Sheriff and claim any exemptions you have before they can take any money and keep it. Read the instructions you get from the Sheriff about how to claim your exemptions carefully.

If the creditor goes through this ENTIRE PROCESS, then and only then can they affect a garnishment on your wages.

I was served with an "Earnings Withholding Order". Now What???

Unfortunately, this creditor has gone through the process. (And many do.) But it is no necessarily the end of the world. Although, it is rare, sometimes the creditor will work with you to stop the wage garnishment, and agree on a payment plan you can live with. You might try contacting the attorney that got the judgment and ask them to stop the garnishment and let you make payments voluntarily. It doesn't hurt to ask. Without an agreement they will legally be allowed to take 25% of your paycheck for a wage garnishment in California. They will also take anything you have in a bank account, so it is not a good idea to have cash in accounts they can get to.

How do I stop the wage garnishment?

If the above does not work, or you just do not see how you can possibly handle ANY payments then contact our office at the numbers below and we can explore other options. There is no charge to talk to us about your options, and explore ways you can possibly be helped. Give us a call today at any of the numbers below, and we will see if we can stop the wage garnishment.

Is it possible to get the money taken returned?

Maybe. If you act quickly. Sometimes it is possible, (with a bankruptcy filing) to go back 90 days and make them give it back. Once it goes past 90 days you cannot recover it. Also, if it is under $600.00 it cannot be recovered. Contact our office for further information.

For more extensive information on your Fresno Bankruptcy Attorney, Click Here

Law Office of Timothy C. Springer

Linea en Español: (559) 225-3025 ● E-Mail Us

Main Office

4905 N West Avenue, Suite 102
Fresno, CA 93705-0438
Telephone: (559) 225-3622
Map and Directions


Other Numbers

Fowler, CA (559) 834-3213
Merced, CA/ Los Banos, CA (209) 388-9988
Toll Free (877) 776-4529

Central California bankruptcy attorney Timothy C. Springer is a Debt Relief Agency and helps people get debt relief through Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. We serve communities throughout Central California in Tulare County, Fresno County, Madera County, Mariposa County, Kings County, Merced County, in communities including Fresno, Fowler, Selma, Sanger, Kingsburg, Visalia, Hanford, Madera, Merced, LeMoore Naval Air Station, Los Banos, Oakhurst, Coursegold, and Mariposa.


We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.
The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.

Copyright by Law Office of Timothy C. Springer. All rights reserved. You may reproduce materials available at this site for your own personal use and for non-commercial distribution. All copies must include this copyright statement.