For anyone struggling with debt, a wage garnishment can be the straw that breaks the proverbial camel’s back. Because as much as 25% of your take home pay can be seized by a creditor via wage garnishment, you may be left unable to pay your rent, purchase gas, or pay your utilities and other bills.
Generally, a creditor must first obtain a judgment against you before it may legally garnish your wages. Certain government agencies, such as the IRS or state taxing authorities, have the right to garnish your wages without first obtaining a court order. However, such agencies must notify you of their intent to garnish your wages before doing so.
Under New York law, income from Social Security and Public assistance is exempt from wage garnishment. Moreover, earned income up to 30 times the federal minimum wage or 10% of your gross income, whichever is less, is exempt from garnishment.
There are several ways to stop wage garnishment. The first is to negotiate a payment plan with the creditor. If the creditor agrees to a payment plan, you will be allowed to pay the debt in monthly installments over time, usually through an electronic debit from your bank account.
Another way to stop wage garnishment is to file bankruptcy. Filing bankruptcy prevents all of your creditors from making collection efforts against you. Under certain circumstances, you may even be able to wipe out the judgment as well as certain unsecured debts.
If you are being sued by a creditor or a creditor has already obtained a judgment against you, you should speak with a New York debt settlement attorney as soon as possible. A New York debt settlement attorney will advise you of your legal options and assist you in resolving your financial issues.