How to File a Claim of Exemption for Wage Garnishment in California

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A wage garnishment occurs in California after a business attempts, and fails, to collect the money owed for a debt. In order to file for wage garnishment, the company must collect a judgment against the debtor. Once the company receives the judgment, with or without the presence of the debtor, the wage garnishment process begins. The debtor will receive a notice in the mail indicating the wage garnishment process is about to begin. In California, a debtor may claim an exemption for wage garnishment if he is the sole provider for his family.

Contact or visit your California county clerk’s office closest to your residence within 10 days of receiving documentation of the wage garnishment process. Request a copy of Exemption From the Enforcement of Judgments (Form EJ-155), Claim of Exemption (Form WG-006) and Financial Statement (Form WG-007) to begin the exemption process.

Fill out form WG-006 to indicate you are the head of household and use your income to support your family in California. Indicate all of your sources of income and the amounts on Form WG-007. Determine how much of your property is exempt by reading Form EJ-155 and comparing your income and property.

Make two copies of each form to turn in to the sheriff or process server as indicated by the California county clerk’s office. Make an extra copy of each form for your personal records. Wait to determine whether you receive approval for your exemption. If the debtor objects, you will need to go to a court hearing to determine whether you may claim the exemption.

Expect the wage garnishment to occur throughout the process of filling out and having your wage garnishment exemptions delivered. In California, your employer will continue the garnishment for 10 days and will release the funds after a 10-day period if the creditor does not object to the exemption.

Attend the court hearing if the debtor objects and you receive the Notice of Opposition to Claim of Exemption (Form WG-009) and a Notice of Hearing on Claim of Exemption (Form WG-010), which indicates your court date. If approved during the hearing, your employer may release the funds that he held back during this process. If denied, the employer will continue the wage garnishment and pay the debt monthly until you receive a discharge from the debt.