October 2018 | No. M2017-02434-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. 2018)

Kendle v. Kendle (Tennessee 2018)

When determining if it can honor a garnishment notice, an employer has no obligation to consider any garnishments already in place with another employer. The father in this case had two employers. His wages from his primary employer were being garnished when the mother served a garnishment on his secondary employer for fees incurred due to his failure to pay child support. The secondary employer sent a notice stating that it could not honor the garnishment. The employer calculated his total net income from both employers and found that the amount to be withheld was greater than the allowable percentage. The district court found that the secondary employer had no obligation to consider the pre-existing garnishment and ordered that the secondary employer withhold 25 percent of the father’s net wages going forward. Both parties appealed. The father argued that his pre-existing garnishment should count. The mother argued that the employer should withhold the statutory maximum amount. The court of appeals found that employers have no duty to consider the amount of wages being withheld from other employers. Garnishees are only responsible for the property in their possession. The court further found that the statute gives the court the ability to order a garnishment up to 50 percent of the employee’s wages. The court’s order to withhold 25 percent was appropriate.

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