Wage Garnishment Law
Sections 706.10 – 706.154
- Judgement Liens
- Bank Account Levies
- Seizure and Sale of Personal Property
- Seizure and Sale of Real Estate
Wage garnishment is one of the most cost effective and powerful tools to satisfy a judgment. No one really wants their employer to find out they are having financial difficulties let alone have their wages garnished. Some judgment debtors may agree to a reasonable installment agreement and payments directly instead of having their wages garnished. The new installment agreement to pay off the judgment can include additional attorney fees and interest. Give us a call toll free at 1-877-963-9543 to discuss your judgment and start the judgment enforcement process. You may also fax us the judgment and other case information to 650-366-4875 and we will then contact you to discuss your options further.
A negative of wage garnishment is that the judgment debtor may just file for bankruptcy protection. As soon as the bankruptcy case is filed the automatic stay takes affect stopping any and all collection activities. After going through the process of obtaining the judgment and enforcing the judgment by obtaining a writ of execution the judgment debtor can make it all worthless by filing bankruptcy. If the judgment debtor has an asset Chapter 7 case or is reorganizing under Chapter 13 or Chapter 11 you may still get paid something. You will now have to file a claim with the bankruptcy court, possibly object to confirmation of a plan or reorganization or fight the treatment of your judgment lien. If the judgment debtor receives a discharge the judgment cannot be satisfied by their income or assets acquired after the bankruptcy. Your judgment will be worthless. If you have properly recorded a judgment lien you may still be able to enforce the lien depending upon the circumstances.
Under California wage garnishment law you can garnish up to 25% of the judgment debtor’s net wages. Wage garnishments are relatively cheap compared to enforcing a judgment by foreclosing on a judgment lien. If you are garnishing wages and your judgment is for a significant amount of money it will take quite some time to satisfy the judgment in full one month at a time. This of course depends upon how much the judgment debtor earns each month. The good news is as long as the judgment debtor is working you will receive a payment each month once their wages are garnished.
A judgment debtor may file a claim of exemption with the levying officer to reduce the amount that can be garnished from their wages. See California Civil Procedure Section 706.150. A financial statement must also be filed with the claim of exemption. Once the levying officer receives the claim of exemption they will serve it on the judgment creditor. If the judgment creditor does not oppose the claim of exemption then the levying officer will modify the amount of wages to be garnished or terminate the garnishment all together.