Wage garnishment permits a creditor to take money from an individual’s weekly or biweekly paycheck until the debt is satisfied. Tennessee law permits wage garnishments. However, the law does limit how much and which debts can be garnished.
How Much Money Can a Creditor Take From My Check Under Tennessee Law?
According to federal law, a creditor can deduct up to 25 percent of wages that meet the minimum threshold amount. For certain debts, a creditor can take more than 25 percent. Tennessee law affords an employee more protection if the employee has any dependents. An employee can protect $2.50 per week for each dependent.
Is a Judgment Required Prior to a Garnishment?
Yes, for most wage garnishments. A judgment is a court order instructing an employer to deduct a specific amount of money from the employee’s checks. Creditors such as credit card companies and lenders need a judgment to attach a wage garnishment to paychecks.
Which Debts Don’t Need a Court Order for a Wage Garnishment?
Under Tennessee Law, the following debts don’t need a judgment to attach a garnishment to wages:
- Defaulted student loans
- Unpaid income taxes
- Child support arrears
- Court-ordered child support
Who Can Take More than 25 Percent of My Wages?
Tennessee follows federal guidelines when it comes to non-judgment wage garnishments:
- Child Support: Up to 50 percent of disposable earnings. It could increase to 60 percent if an employee isn’t supporting a child or spouse.
- Unpaid Income Taxes: Specific amount depends on the deduction rate and amount of dependents
- Defaulted Student Loans: Up to 15 percent of disposable income or 30 times the minimum wage
Can More Than One Creditor Take 25 Percent of My Disposable Income?
No. If an employee has more than one judgment, the total limit to be garnished is 25 percent. The percentage is split among the creditors.
Should I Contact a Lawyer about My Tennessee Wage Garnishment?
Yes. It’s in your best interest to consult a lawyer to determine how you can resolve your wage garnishment.