According to Louisiana law, the general exemptions from seizure are as follows:
The following income or property of a debtor is exempt from seizure under any writ,
mandate, or process whatsoever: Seventy-five percent of his disposable earnings for
any week. . . . [h]owever,
the exemption from disposable earnings for the payment of a current
or past due support obligation, or both, for a child or children
is fifty percent of disposable earnings, and the exemption from seizure of the disposable earnings for the payment of a current
or past due support obligation, or both, for a spouse or former spouse is sixty percent
of the disposable earnings. For purposes of this Subsection, if the Department of
Social Services is providing support enforcement services to the spouse and a judgment
or order for support includes an obligation for both a child or children and a spouse
or former spouse, or in any case wherein the judgment or order does not clearly indicate
which amount is attributable to support of the child or children and which amount
is attributable to support of the spouse or former spouse, the support obligation
shall be treated as if it is exclusively for the support of a child or children.
LA. REV. STAT. ANN. § 3881A(1)(a) (2004) (emphasis added); see also Blanchard v. Blanchard, 466 So.2d 569, 571-572 (5th Cir. 1985)(Statute provides that in cases of child support
obligations, up to fifty percent of a debtor's disposable earnings may be seized to
satisfy a past due or current support obligation). Thus, Louisiana law provides that
up to fifty percent of a debtor's disposable earnings may be garnished for past due
or current child support obligations.
However, the Programs Operation Manual System (POMS) GN 02410.255(2), State Garnishment Laws, Louisiana, provides:
In both garnishment and income assignment, 75% of disposable earnings is exempt from
seizure; however, in any case, the exemption shall not be less than an amount in disposable
earnings which is equal to 30 times the Federal hourly wage in effect at the time
the earnings are payable. However, if the Department of Health and Human Resources
is providing support enforcement services to the spouse, only 50% of disposable earnings
is exempt from seizure.
It appears that POMS does not correctly reflect current Louisiana law. Thus, Mr. W~'
benefits are subject to Louisiana laws governing child support garnishment and are
subject to the Court's child support order. As such, fifty percent of Mr. W~' aggregate
disposable earnings are subject to garnishment. I have attached a copy of the Louisiana
Statute, section 3881, for your review.
Additionally, I have contacted the New Orleans District Attorney's Office, 98th Judicial
District Circuit, in New Orleans, Louisiana, and spoke with Marcy R~, who confirmed
that Mr. W~ owed past child support in the amount of $6,199.00.
Accordingly, we see no legal objection to either the substance or form of this Order,
and it is our opinion that your office may comply with this Order.
Very Truly Yours,
Tina M. W~
Regional Chief Counsel
Carolyn A. E~
Assistant Regional Counsel
1 "Disposable earnings" means the part of the earnings of any individual remaining
after the deduction from those earnings of any amounts required by law to be withheld
and which amounts are reasonable and are being deducted in the usual course of business
at the time the garnishment is served upon the employer for the purpose of providing
benefits for retirement, medical insurance coverage, life insurance coverage and which
amounts are legally due or owed to the employer in the usual course of business at
the time the garnishment is served. LA. REV. STAT. ANN. § 3881A(1)(b) (2004).