Wage Garnishment Lawyers

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What Are Wage Garnishments?

When a person is in debt because of home loans, credit cards, or auto loans, a creditor who is owed the debt may be able to get a court order to garnish the debtors wages for repayment of the debt. In many cases, the debt has become so high that courts will apply wage garnishment laws to force workers to pay back some of the outstanding debt owed to creditors. This is to ensure that workers don't increase the amount of debt already incurred and force themselves into bankruptcy.

A wage garnishment order would allow the creditor to send the court order to the debtor’s employer, and the employer would be legally required to deduct a specific amount out of the employee’s paycheck to satisfy the repayment of the debt. The employer will then send the withheld amount to then creditor until the debt is fully paid.

When Can a Creditor Garnish My Wages?

A creditor must first obtain a court order in order to begin the wage garnishment process. The court order is a judgment that states that the debtor owes the creditor a certain amount. There are certain instances where a court order is not required for a debtor’s wages to be garnished:

How Does Wage Garnishment Work?

Wage garnishment imposes deductions on an employee's salary after all disposable income has been deducted. These deductions include the following: 

Are There Limits as to the Amount Deducted?

Yes. Federal law places limits on wage garnishments and states have the right to put even stricter limits on how much creditors can garnish a debtor’s wage. These limits exist in order to allow the debtor to have enough income left to pay other living expenses.

If a debtor has more than one wage garnishment judgment against them, the total amount that can be garnished from their paycheck is limited to 25%. For example, if the federal government is garnishing 15% of the debtor’s paycheck to repay defaulted student loans and the debtor’s employer receives a second wage garnishment court order, the employer can only take 10% from the paycheck to satisfy the second wage garnishment order.

Can an Employer Fire Me Because of a Wage Garnishment?

Possibly. Title II of the Consumer Credit Protection Act prevents employers from dismissing an employee for being subject to wage garnishments. However, if an employee accumulates further debt and a court has required more than one wage garnishment, an employer has a right to fire that employee. Therefore, it is in the best interest of the employee to comply with the wage garnishment requirements and not increase existing debt.

Should I Contact an Attorney?

An employment lawyer can help answer your questions about wage garnishment law and what steps you can take. Many employers withhold a large percentage of your earned income that exceeds federal and state limits, and a lawyer can help you to recover that money.

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Last Modified: 11-19-2014 03:53 PM PST

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