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Wage Garnishment Laws 101

If you do not pay back a creditor, they may have the right to pursue a legal action known as wage garnishment to get the money they are owed. These forced payments are deducted directly from your paycheck, and they can be problematic for obvious reasons. Here are a few things you should know if you are facing wage garnishment. 

How do wage garnishments vary by state?

If you are subject to wage garnishment, it is best if you do take a moment to get familiar with the laws in your state because the laws can drastically affect things like how much money is allowed to be withheld. For example, in the state of Kentucky, a creditor can typically take up to 25 percent of your disposable earnings in a pay period, but in the state of New York, a creditor can take 10 percent of your gross wages or 25 percent of your disposable income in some cases. 

What types of wages can be garnished?

If you have been sent a notice that your wages are going to be garnished by a creditor, it is helpful if you know what kinds of wages that particular creditor can garnish. There can be variances according to what state you live in, but typically, wage garnishment will only affect your salary, hourly pay, commission, or tips that you earn from an employer. Garnishment cannot include federal or state payments like Social Security Disability payments or child support payments. 

Can you file a legal objection to wage garnishment?

You may be able to file a legal objection to certain types of wage garnishments, but you will need the help of an attorney to file the objection. Some of the reasons people file for a garnishment objection include: 

  • The garnishment places the individual in financial hardship 
  • The garnishment prohibits the individual from providing support for their household 
  • The garnishment prevents the individual from paying for necessary medical costs 

These situations can vary depending on the person, and it can be really difficult to get the objection approved, so having an attorney to help you is really important. 

Can you stop wage garnishment if you file for bankruptcy?

If you file for bankruptcy, you may be able to stop some forms of age garnishment. For example, if your wages are being garnished because you defaulted on a personal loan, filing bankruptcy on that particular loan will halt the garnishment process. Bankruptcy does not stop wage garnishment that is due to things like owed child support, owed taxes, or other government-mandated garnishments. 

To learn more, contact a resource like Alaska Cascade Financial Services.