Wage Assignment Vs. Garnishment

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A garnishment is court-ordered and allows a creditor to collect the debt he is owed. A wage assignment may also be court-ordered, but it can be voluntary or mandatory until the delinquency or debt has been paid in full to the creditor.


The purpose of a garnishment is to recover funds owed to a creditor. The creditor may have the funds garnisheed from a bank account, paycheck, or from other assets.

Wage Assignment

The wage assignment allows a creditor to a retain of portion of the debtor's paycheck once a delinquency has occurred. There are two types: mandatory and voluntary.

Voluntary Wage Assignment

A voluntary wage assignment occurs when a person agrees to the transfer of future funds, usually through a paycheck, to cover a delinquency.

Mandatory Wage Assignment

A mandatory wage assignment occurs through a court order. Money will then be deducted from a person’s earnings until the debt has been paid.


A creditor may only garnishee a certain percentage of a debtor’s paycheck, depending on the state's law (in the state of Washington, for example, the limit is 25 percent). When dealing with a wage assignment, the creditor can generally acquire a larger percentage of a person’s earnings.