Enforcing Spousal Support with an Earnings Assignment Order in California

Spouses often seek earnings assignments to enforce a spousal support order. Here’s how to get an earnings assignment order for spousal support in California.

To successfully get an earnings assignment order for spousal support in California, you must fill out and file the necessary paperwork, serve the earnings assignment order to your ex and ex’s employer, and file proofs of service.

1) Fill out the necessary paperwork

To enforce a spousal support order through an earnings assignment, first, fill out the following forms:

  • Findings and Order After Hearing (Form FL-340) AND
  • Attachments describing spousal support order (Form FL-343) AND
  • Earnings Assignment Order for Spousal Support (Form FL-435) OR
  • Order/Notice to Withhold Income for Child Support (Forms FL-195 AND FL-196) (if seeking to enforce both child and spousal support)

When filling out Form FL-195 and Form FL-435, it’s important to only include the last 4 digits of your spouse’s SSN.

2) Review and make copies of forms

Have a divorce attorney look over your farms to make sure they’re filled out correctly. Once you make sure that everything checks out, make two copies of every form; one for you and one for your spouse. The original forms will be given to the court.

3) File the forms with your local court’s clerk for a judge to sign

File Forms FL-340, FL-343, and FL-195 or FL-196 with your local court’s clerk. The court clerk will give these documents to a judge to sign. Ask the clerk where you should pick the papers up from once they’ve been signed.

4) Collect signed forms

If the judge signs the Form FL-340 they will also order the earnings assignment.

5) File signed forms (if necessary)

If the forms have not been stamped “Filed” by the court clerk, make sure the clerk does so and keeps the original forms.

6) Serve the earnings assignment order to your former spouse’s employer

Once you have filed the original forms, get someone over the age of 18 (not yourself) to serve one set of copied forms to your former spouse’s employer. Find the employer’s mailing address and have a server mail the copied forms, along with a Findings and Order After Hearing Form (FL-340), to that address. This is to notify your former spouse’s employer of the earnings assignment order.

7) Serve the earnings assignment to your former spouse

After someone has served your former spouse’s employer, serve all of the forms, including the Request for Earnings Assignment Order and FL-340, to your former spouse. If your local child support agency is involved in this case, serve these documents to the LCSA too.

8) Complete and file proofs of service

Have the server that mailed the earnings assignment order complete two Proof of Service by Mail (FL-335) forms and send one form to your former spouse and the other to your former spouse’s employer.

Related: How to Enforce Spousal Support in California

Spousal Support Earnings Assignment FAQs

What is an earnings assignment?

An earnings assignment order, often referred to as wage garnishment, legally obligates the debtor’s employer to deduct earnings directly to pay spousal support.

What is proof of service in an earnings assignment order?

The court needs to ensure that your former spouse and former spouse’s employer were notified of the earnings assignment order. To do so, California law requires the server to complete and file a Proof of Service form, a document that proves that an individual served the earnings assignment order.

How do you prepare an earnings assignment application in California?

Fill out and an Earnings Assignment Order (Form FL-435), along with the other forms necessary to enforce spousal support through an earnings assignment order. Then consult a divorce attorney to make sure the forms are filled out correctly

How does an earnings assignment work?

Once the earnings assignment order has been served, the employer has 10 days to begin deducting funds from the debtor’s earnings and allocate them directly to spousal support payments.

How do I serve an earnings assignment order on someone collecting from EDD?

Typically, individuals collecting from the EDD have their spousal support order filed with the LCSA. If so, the EDD will directly allocate the debtor’s unemployment payments towards spousal support.

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If you’re looking to get a spousal support earnings assignment order, contact us. We’ll get you in touch with the most qualified divorce attorney for your unique legal issue.