Wage Garnishment And Income Withholding Order Services
Often, particularly when child support issues are involved, you will be due money and need a way to collect on it. If the debtor is behind in payments or not making them entirely, your best bet is to file an income withholding order.
If the judgment debtor has not paid their financial obligation when it is due, or setup a plan to pay it over time, California legislation gives the judgment financial institution the right to have the money taken out of the debtor’s account. This is called wage garnishment.
The federal government limits how much you can garnish from a debtor’s income to either 25% or 30 times the minimum wage for the work week, whichever is less. The general process for gathering a judgment from a debtor’s earnings is comparable throughout California, but there might be some distinctions from one county to the next.
For example, in numerous counties, the Sheriff is the most commonly-used levying officer, while in others, people like licensed process servers are the best candidates for the duty. To find out how it works in your county, call the Small Claims Advisor.
To collect from the debtor’s income, you will need to take the following steps:
Step 1. Secure a Writ of Execution (Form EJ-130) from the court clerk. Abide by the California guidelines for giving out a writ, and then fill in, file and pay the declaring fees for both of these forms:
The court clerk will print all three of these documents and provide the originals back to you.
Step 2. Make at least 3 copies of the above documents that have the court stamp on them. Keep one set for your own file.
Step 3. Employ a Registered Process Server and give them:
- the other 2 sets of court-stamped forms
- a check to cover the charge for garnishing the debtor’s earnings
If you can not afford to pay these charges, you can ask the court for a waiver. In this instance, avoid hiring a Registered Process Server and go straight to the workplace of the levying agency with all of your documentation, as well as your fee waiver.
The Registered Process Server will then open a file with the Sheriff’s Office (or whatever various other levying agency is appropriate in your region). This file will consist of both the Writ of Execution and the Earnings Withholding Order, however, there may be other forms needed as well. Consult the levying officer ahead of time to figure out just what that office needs.
Once the Registered Process Server has filed the records with the levying official, he or she will “serve” the Earnings Withholding Order on the debtor’s employer. The Registered Process Server at that point has 5 days to officially file the completed original Writ of Execution and Proof of Service (on the employer) with the levying office.
The levying office will secure the funds from the debtor’s employer, and deliver the money to you. The garnishment remains in effect until you are completely paid or the debtor leaves that job. Sometimes the company does not withhold the money from the debtor’s wages. If this takes place, that business is violating the court order and can be held in contempt by the court.
When the wage garnishment is fully paid you MUST end the Writ of Execution. To do this, write a letter to the Sheriff’s division (or the levying official) and ask them to recall the garnishment. Your note should include the:
- Court’s case number
- Sheriff’s case number
- Name of the judgment debtor (as noted on the garnishment order)
- Name of the debtor’s employer
- Date when the garnishment should finish
If you need to have an income withholding order served, give JPL Process Service a call at (866) 754-0520 and we can handle it for you, often in as little as 24 hours.