Hafemeyer Law

Wage Garnishment

Often times, when individuals are facing financial difficulties, the stress of constant contact from collection agencies causes some to ignore the situation in hopes that it will simply go away. Unfortunately, ignoring the problem can make it worse. When debtors stop responding to creditors or collection agencies, these entities often take steps to file a judgment in court against the debtor to collect monies due. If a judgment is obtained from the court, it can be recorded and the collection agency can levy a bank account or wages of the debtor. The levy of accounts and wages is called a garnishment.

Wage garnishments are most often served on an employer, requiring the employer to report the employees’ wages to determine whether there is income available for garnishment. The garnishment of wages is regulated by individual states, the Consumer Credit Protection Act (CCPA) and Title III.  These laws cover all employers and wage earners and work to protect employees subject to a wage garnishment from adverse action from their employer.

In a garnishment action, creditors are only allowed to take a certain portion of a wage earners “disposable income.” Disposable income is the amount of income left after required deductions, i.e. federal and state, FICA and social security taxes. Payments for health insurance, union dues and charitable donations are not considered required deductions and will not decrease the amount of disposable income available for garnishment.

In some cases a wage garnishment can deduct up to 25% of wage earners disposable earnings. The amount of wages that can be garnished for the collection of child support, bankruptcy or back state/federal taxes varies depending on the circumstances of the individual award. In some cases, between 50-60% of disposable earnings can be withheld to pay child support payments and arrears.

If you are at risk of having a creditor file a garnishment against you, call my office to discuss options that may be available
to stop the loss of wages.

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