Two Concurrent Garnishments

August 9, 2023


What if your judgment debtor’s wages are already being garnished (for less than your state’s garnishment percentage limit)? Can you start a second wage levy, for an additional amount (that will not exceed your state’s maximum garnishment level) to satisfy your judgment?

One of many judgment-related articles: I am not a lawyer, I am a Judgment Broker; and this article is my opinion based on my experience in California, please consult with a lawyer if you need legal advice.

Any State FTB (Franchise Tax Board) can start a State tax wage garnishment. State tax levies have a higher priority than common judgment creditor levies. Some Sheriffs only allow one wage levy at a time, even if the other garnishment is below the State limits for garnishing a judgment debtor’s wages.

Some judgment enforcers/creditors have successfully levied wages when the first creditor in line was only taking a small amount each pay period. If you attempt this, be prepared for a COE (Claim Of Exemption) hearing. The laws about multiple concurrent wage garnishments are often state-specific.

What codes or laws can you give the Sheriff regarding a judgment debtor, allowing two garnishments at the same time? In California, CCP (Civil Code of Procedure) 706.030, explains how two wage garnishments can take place concurrently.

As per CCP 706.030: Service of a withholding order for support issued by the local child support agency may be made by first-class mail or in any other manner described in Section 706.101. Service of a withholding order for support issued by the local child support agency is complete when it is received by the employer or a person described in paragraph (1) or (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 706.101, or if service is by first-class mail, service is complete as specified in Section 1013.

(3) Subject to paragraph (2) and to Article 3 (commencing with Section 706.050), an employer shall withhold earnings pursuant to both a withholding order for support and another earnings withholding order simultaneously.

And as per CCP 706.050:

Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, the amount of earnings of a judgment debtor exempt from the levy of an earnings withholding order shall be that amount that may not be withheld from the judgment debtor’s earnings under federal law in Section 1673(a) of Title 15 of the United States Code.

From section five of the California Sheriff’s instruction manual; covering the duties of the employer, how priorities are determined:

Orders served on an employer which affect earnings must be given the following order of priority:

First Court ordered wage assignment of support of minor children, spouse, or former spouse under code 44701 (CCP 706.031).

Second is earning withholding order for support (CCP 706.030) Third are earnings withholding order for taxes (CCP 706.102) Fourth are non-tax orders from the Franchise Tax Board (see Rev & TC 10878) including Earnings Withholding Order for:

1. Payment of delinquent wages.

2. Delinquent vehicle registrations or parking violations.

3. Delinquent court ordered debt.

4. Delinquent industrial Health and Safety debts.

5. Defaulted student loans.

Fifth are earnings withholding order (normal money judgment) (CCP 706.023)

An order of the first, second, third or fourth priority will supersede a previously served order which has a lower priority, except that if sufficient earnings are available an employer must comply with orders of the first, second, third, and/or fourth priorities; served during the life of the earnings withholding order, are ineffective.

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