California Laws on Wage Garnishments, Statute of Limitation on Debt, and Bankruptcy Property Exemptions

WAGE GARNISHMENT EXEMPTION:  The State of California does not provide a wage garnishment amount.  Federal law applies.

MAXIMUM INTEREST RATE:  Legal: 10%  Judgment: 10% or contract rate


Open Account (credit card):  4 years (2 yeas if not in writing)
Written Contract:  4 years
Domestic Judgment: 10 years (can be renewed at 10 years)
Foreign Judgment: 10 years


Amount owed plus treble (3 times) damages [minimum $100 and maximum $1500]


(California Code of Civil Procedure) You cannot use the federal exemptions, but you can use the federal non-bankruptcy exemptions.  California is the only state with two options [pick the one that allows you to keep the most property.  Option 2 is on the next page] --

California -- Option 1:

Real estate:  Real property, mobile home, co-op, or condo to $50,000 if single and not disabled; $75,000 for families if no other member has a homestead; up to $125,000 if 65 or older or disabled or $100,000 if 55 or older, single and earn under $15,000 and creditors trying to force the sale of your home; or 55 or older, married, earning less than $20,000 and creditors trying to force the sale of your home; proceeds from sale of home are exempt for six months [704.710, 704.720 and 704.730]
Personal property:  Furnishings, clothing, appliances and food (amount needed) [704.020]; bank deposits from social security to $2,000 ($3,000 if married) [704.080]; building materials for home improvement up to $2,000 [704.030]; jewelry, heirlooms and art up to $5,000 total [704.040]; motor vehicles or auto insurance proceeds on vehicle to $1,900 [704.010]; personal injury claims or recoveries, amount needed for support [704.140]; wrongful death causes of action or recovery, amount needed for support [704.140]; books, equipment, furnishings, materials, motor vehicle (if not claimed otherwise), tools, uniforms, and vessel up to $5,000 total (married couples may double to $10,000) [704.060]
Insurance / Annuities:  Disability or health benefits, unlimited amount [704.130]; life insurance proceeds if policy prohibits proceeds from being used to pay creditors, unlimited amount [Insurance 1017]; fidelity bonds, unlimited amount [Labor 404]; matured life insurance benefits, amount needed for support [704.100(c); fraternal unemployment benefits, unlimited amount [704.120]; homeowner's insurance proceeds up to six months after receipt and up to real estate exemption amount [704.720(b)]; unmatured life insurance policy loan value up to $8,000 if single, married couples can double [704.100(b)]
Pensions / Retirement Plans:  Public and Private retirement benefits, IRAs & Keoghs, unlimited amount [704.110, 704.115]; public employees, public retirement benefits [Government 21201]; county employees, firefighters, police officers, unlimited amount [Government 31452, 31913 and 32210]
Public Benefits / Entitlements:  Union benefits due to labor dispute, unlimited amount [704.120(b)(5)]; workers' compensation, unlimited amount [704.160]; aid to blind, aged, disabled, and families with dependent children, unlimited amount [704.170]; financial aid to students, unlimited amount [704.180]; unemployment benefits, unlimited amount [704.120]; relocation benefits, unlimited amount [704.180]
Wages:  Public employees vacation credits, unlimited amount [704.1113]; 75% of paid wages within 30 days of filing bankruptcy [704.070]
Miscellaneous:  Business or professional licenses, except liquor licenses, unlimited amount [695.060 and 708.630]; inmates' trust funds up to $1,000 [704.090]; business partnership property, unlimited amount [Corporations 15025]

Option 2 exemptions:

Real Estate:  Real property, co-op and/or burial plot of debtor or a dependent to $15,000; unused exemption may be applied to any property [703.140(b)(1)]
Personal property:  Animals, crops, appliances, furnishings, household goods, books, musical instruments and clothing up to $400 per item [703.140(b)(3)]; implements, books and tools of trade up to $1,500 [703.140(b)(6)]; health aids, unlimited amount [703.140(b)(9)]; jewelry to $1,000 total [703.140(b)(4)]; motor vehicle to $2,400 [703.140(b)(2); personal injury recoveries to $15,000 (not pain or suffering or pecuniary loss) [703.140(b)(11)(D) and (E), wrongful death recoveries, amount needed for support [703.140(b)(11)(B)]; burial plot up to $15,000 in lieu of real estate exemption [703.140(b)(1)]
Insurance / Annuities:  Disability benefits, unlimited amount [703.140(b)(10)(C)]; fidelity bonds; life insurance proceeds, amount needed for support [703.140(b)(11)(C); unmatured life insurance policy with dividends or loan value up to $8,000 [703.140(b)(8)]; unmatured life insurance policy [703.140(b)(7)]
Pensions / Retirement Plans:  Retirement benefits, amount needed for support [703.140(b)(10)(E)]
Public Benefits / Entitlements:  Unemployment compensation, unlimited amount [703.140(b)(10)(A)]; veterans' benefits, unlimited amount [703.140(b)(10)(B)]; crime victims' compensation, unlimited amount [703.140(b)(11)(A)]; public assistance, unlimited amount [703.140(b)(10)(A)]; social security, unlimited amount [703.140(b)(10)(A)]
Wages: None
Miscellaneous:  Any property up to $800 [703.140(b)(5)]; alimony and child support, amount needed for support [703.140(b)(10)(D)]; unused portion of real estate or burial exemption (can be used with any property) [703.140(b)(5)]
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