I’m Now Working in California But Getting My Wages Garnished From Another State. Can They Do This? – Jay


“Dear Steve,

I lost my job and my credit card sued me back when I lived in Michigan in early 2009 and they obtained a judgement with the local Michigan court. I have since moved to California and I’m employed by a CA employer (it’s actually a federal bank with offices throughout the USA but I live and work now in California).

The creditor has just served my employer in CA to garnish part of my wages but has not gone through the California courts. The Writ orde is from Michigan and now my CA employer is withholding the 25% from my paycheck. Can they do this without obtaining a CA order?


Dear Jay,

Sounds like you need to consult with a lawyer in California to get some legal advice on this one. Here is what I can offer from my lay experience.

If your employer has a presence in Michigan they may have been served in Michigan or the garnishment order may have been presented to a California court for acceptance.

The ultimate answer is probably that you work for a big bank, they take these issues seriously, and they would rather this matter was resolved instead of swept under the rug. It sounds like you owed the debt and the creditor used the courts to collect.

If you decided to go bankrupt, that would end the garnishment but I have no way of knowing if that is a solution worth considering without knowing more about your situation.

Please update me on your progress by

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6 thoughts on “I’m Now Working in California But Getting My Wages Garnished From Another State. Can They Do This? – Jay”

  1. I would like to add how greatful I am to have accessed your blog as it added to the inspiration to get these issues settled and it gave us hope during these most difficult times. I guess none of us is prepared for this tough an economy and it is overwhelming to face some of the tough decisions to be made in these type of situations.
    Your blog and your website was a great resource and we are greatful for it. Thank you kindly!

  2. Hello,I have a question..If I have a judgement and wages garnished for 20 thousand,started to pay that back but had to stop working for a year,can I still try to offer a settlement to satisfy the debt?

    • Courtney,

      You can try but since they already have a legal judgment against you earning additional interest don’t be surprised if they don’t jump for it. But it never hurts to ask.


    • UPDATE: I did my research and it worked very well. The State of California has a requirement for all sister state judgments to be processed through a California court before enforcement in CA. The creditor failed to do so and although I adviced the CA employer, they failed to even take the time to investigate. They are a Big-Bank with monopoly aspirations, they think a client is not much than a big landing on their land and a huge attitude to be the best. I guess definition of “best” might differ from what most of us think is the “best” bank.

      Nonetheless, I went to the CA Labor Board, I gave them the printouts from the CA legislature (Sister State Judgment validation procedure in California) and they determined that the big bank employer should have had the credit follow CA protocol.
      The Bank wrote a check and reimbursed me for 100% of the amounts garnished and sent me a check wiht a note indicating that they are unable to collect from the creditor (another big bank charging 34.99% interest rate on credit cards as allowed in MI).

      There is hope folks, do your research and go for it!

        • If they perfect the judgment in CA then they can garnish here in CA as I understtood but the CA court will give you time to contest it. Obviously, if it is fact your debt then you’re best to make some kind of settlement agreement with the lender although they’re not that likely to deal wiht you since they know they can garnish. In my particular situation, due to other issues with real estate, a chapter 7 became the inevitable option so the credit card lender who had the judgment against me was included.

          For someone who has NO plans to file a bankruptcy this sad strategy would make no sense since all your buying is time but it worked in my case this time.


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