126. How to Request an Exemption From Your Wage Garnishment

If you have received an Earnings Withholding Order (EWO), you may be wondering how to ask for an exemption. Your EWO should include information on the wage garnishment process and exemption. Your first step will be to keep a record of when you received the order.

How Do You Ask For An Exemption?

In order to ask for an exemption, you will need to call or write the levying officer listed on your Earnings Withholding Order. The name and address of the levying officer are in the big box on the right at the top of the EWO (Earnings Withholding Order). In your letter, ask for three copies of the Claim of Exemption and Financial Statement forms. You will not need to pay for a copy of these forms, as they are free.

Once you have received the forms, you will need to complete them and make your copies. “On the forms are some sentences or words which have boxes in front of them. The box means the words which follow may not apply to your case. If the words apply, put a check in the box. Remember, it is your job to prove with the Financial Statement form that your earnings are needed for support. Write down the details about your needs.

Claim of Exemption Form

This form makes an offer to the judgment creditor to have a specified amount withheld each pay period. Complete item 3 on the form to indicate the amount you agree to have withheld each pay day during the withholding period. (Be sure it’s less than the amount to be withheld otherwise). If your creditor accepts your offer, he will not oppose your claim of exemption

Finally, be sure to mail or deliver two copies to the levying office. You will need to keep one copy for yourself in the event a court hearing is necessary. You will want to file for exemption as soon as possible. You can click here for more detailed instructions from the California Courts.

Have More Questions?

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Daniela Romero

Daniela Romero has been practicing law in the Los Angeles area since 1998. Ms. Romero has practiced in the areas of civil litigation, family law and bankruptcy law. She was also the staff attorney for the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Domestic Violence Project. MORE

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