Having wages garnished is often a very touchy subject for payor spouses and/or parents. Here is a list of the different types of garnishments, when they are used, and for what:
1. Income Withholding Order - Used for payment of child support. Family Code section 5260 sets forth what types of "earnings" may be garnished by an "Income Withholding Order" and include: wages, salary, bonuses, payments due for services of independent contractors, interest, dividends, rents, royalties, residuals, patent rights, payments resulting from written or oral contracts, workers' compensation, temporary disability benefits, and "any other payments or credits due or becoming due, regardless of the source." Pretty much anything can be reached by an Income Withholidng Order which just goes to show you how seriously the court takes payment of child support. Child support obligations come before all other obligations!!
2. Earnings Assignment Order for Spousal or Partner Support - Just like the name indicates, this type of garnishment is used for spousal support or partner support. Like an Income Withholding Order, an Earnings Assignment Order can reach monies from all the same sources which is a pretty all-inclusive list.
3. Earnings Withholding Order - An "EWO" is actually a levy and requires the prior issuance of a writ of execution. And EWO, however, is limited in its ability to garnish wages in that it can only take up to 25% of the net disposable earnings of the payor spouse or parent. Income Withholding Orders and Earnings Assignment Orders for Spousal or Partner Support, on the other hand, can take anywhere from 50% up to 65% of the payor's net disposable income! In addition, an EWO is limited in the sources from which it can take income - EWOs cannot reach income from independent contractor payments, rents, royalites or disability among other categories.