What is Wage Garnishment?
Wage garnishment occurs when a court orders your employer to withhold a specified amount of your paycheck and send it directly to your creditor until your debts are repaid. There are two main types of garnishment:
- Wage garnishment - where creditors legally require your employer to deduct money from your paycheck to pay off your debts.
- Nonwage garnishment - commonly known as “bank levies”, where creditors are given access to your bank account to obtain compensation from you directly.
In most cases, creditors are not allowed to simply do this on a whim. They must sue you and win in court for nonpayment of debt unless you owe money on items like child support, back taxes, or federal student loans, where they may be able to force garnishment.
How Much is Taken?
There are federal limits on how much of your income a creditor can garnish from you depending on the type of debt you owe.
- 25% or the amount by which your weekly income exceeds 30 times the federal minimum wage for consumer debts (credit card debt, medical bills, personal loans, etc.)
- 50% if you are supporting a child or spouse; otherwise, up to 60% for child support and alimony
- 15% for federal student loans
- Up to 15% for unpaid taxes
How Bankruptcy Can Help
One of the most efficient ways of stopping wage garnishment is filing for bankruptcy. Once your bankruptcy papers are filed with the court, our team of bankruptcy attorneys will give a notice to your creditors’ lawyer to halt the garnishment through what is referred to as “automatic stay”.
Once the garnishment has ceased, our seasoned team of legal professionals will help you find the best avenue for debt relief to prevent the garnishment of your wages from occurring again. It is important to consider, however, that the longer you wait to file, the more of your income will be lost to your creditors.
If you would like to learn more about how bankruptcy can help you, contact us today through our website, or give us a call at (310) 846-8454 to schedule a consultation today!