How to Get Unemployment Garnished in California

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In the State of California, a claimant's unemployment benefits may not be garnished for most civil judgments. California unemployment benefits can, however, be garnished for unpaid child support obligations. In order to obtain a garnishment order for support obligations, the payee will need to seek the cooperation of the local child support agency.

Obtain an order for child support through a divorce, legal separation or paternity action. A garnishment order cannot be entered until a legal obligation to pay the debt exists through the entry of a judgment or order of the court.

Check your child support account to determine if the payor is in arrears, or behind on the payments. A garnishment order will not be approved unless the payor is behind on the payments. You may check your account through the Department of Child Support Services website.

Contact your Local Child Support Agency, or LCSA. The LCSA will then file a certification of support order or judgment with the Department of Child Support Services, or DCSS, certifying that the support order has been entered and is currently in arrears. The DCSS, in turn, will notify the unemployment office which will then garnish the payor's unemployment benefits.

Tips & Warnings

  • Forms you may need when requesting services from the Department of Child Support Services can be found on the website.
  • The amount garnished will be no more than 25 percent of the benefit amount regardless of the actual child support amount ordered.

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