Collect a judgment with an earnings withholding order

You can collect a judgment that is owed by getting an earnings withholding order from the court

In this page:
How do I collect a judgment through the courts?

You can collect a judgment by getting an earnings withholding order, sometimes called wage garnishment, from the Superior Court. For more information on how to do this, visit the California Courts webpage: Wage Garnishment / Earnings Withholding for Employers

What is an earnings withholding order?

An earnings withholding order is a court-ordered legal document. It requires an employer to withhold up to 25 percent of an employee’s wages. This money is paid to a creditor until the employee pays off their debt. A creditor is a person or business that is owed money.

How do earnings withholding orders work?

By law, the San Francisco Sheriff’s Office may serve an earnings withholding order to an employer in San Francisco County. The employer must follow the order and withhold part of the employee’s wages. The Sheriff’s Office collects money due from the employer.

What is the process for serving the earnings withholding order?

  • Complete and submit an Application for Earnings Withholding form to the Sheriff’s Office

  • Pay the Sheriff’s Office the required service fee; you will not need to pay the fee if you submit a certified, court-ordered fee waiver 

  • Provide the original court writ -- the legal document that orders the earnings withholding

  • Provide five copies of the original court writ

Once the Sheriff’s Office receives the paperwork and fee, we will serve notice to the employer. The employer is legally required to withhold part of their employee’s earnings. 


The San Francisco Sheriff’s Office cannot provide legal advice. If you have a legal problem, we suggest contacting an attorney. 

CA Business & Professions Code Section 6125

Government Code 24004