Wage Attachments & Garnishments

LAST UPDATED: May 31, 2017

What You Should Know

Wage attachment, also called wage garnishment, is the process of deducting money from an employee's pay as the result of a court order or action by an authorized agency. Common examples of debt that result in attachments include:

  • child support
  • taxes
  • unpaid court fines

When Princeton University receives a notice advising us to withhold a certain amount of an employee's wages for payment, the University cannot refuse to “attach” the wages by deducting the required payment amount. Wage garnishments continue until the entire debt is paid or arrangements are made to pay off the debt. Generally, only one wage attachment at a time may be in effect for an employee. However, a child support court order may operate simultaneously with a tax levy.

The University charges a processing fee for wage attachments. For child support there is a one dollar processing fee.  For any other garnishment order the University charges a processing fee of 5% of the deduction amount.

Types of Wage Attachments
Attachment Type What it is & What Happens
Creditor Garnishments A garnishment is a summons issued by a court on behalf of a creditor to recover a legal debt owed by the employee.

Princeton University is legally bound to withhold an employee's wages as instructed by the court. Payroll will remit the amounts withheld to the appropriate court on behalf of the employee. Wages will be garnished until the entire amount is satisfied or the court releases the garnishment by written notification.
Bankruptcy Orders A bankruptcy decree is issued by a U.S. Bankruptcy Court on behalf of an employee to prevent further voluntary or involuntary debt collections.

Any debt funds withheld through wage attachment before the bankruptcy petition date that have not been remitted to debtors, will be remitted according to the Bankruptcy Court's instructions. Debt funds withheld by payroll after the bankruptcy petition date will be remitted to the employee.

Payroll will remit the amounts withheld to the appointed trustee as instructed by the Bankruptcy Court.
Child Support Withholding Orders Instructions to withhold payments for child support usually are issued by state and local child support enforcement offices.

The University is legally required to begin withholding payments from an employee's next regularly scheduled pay check. Deductions will continue until a notification to stop withholding is received from the child support enforcement agency.

Payroll will remit amounts withheld to the appropriate court or agency.
Federal & State Tax Levies Instructions are issued by the Internal Revenue Service or a State Treasury Department to withhold wages to satisfy a tax debt.

Payroll will notify the employee of the receipt of a federal or state tax levy and the need to complete the Statement of Personal Exemptions portion of the levy document. The wage garnishment amount will be based on the number of exemptions claimed.

The employee has seven calendar days to complete this form and return it to payroll. Withholding will start at the maximum rate if the form is not received within this time period. Payroll will continue to withhold amounts for a tax levy until released by written notification from the IRS, State Treasury Department, or by an order staying the levy from the Bankruptcy Court.

For more information




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