Does My Total Income Determine Wage Garnishment Amounts?

Unless you are eligible for wage exemptions, creditors can take money out of your paychecks, if they have a wage garnishment. A wage garnishment is money an employer takes from your paychecks—whether you are paid weekly, bi-weekly or monthly—to satisfy a debt you owe. The employer then sends the money to your creditors. The garnishment is calculated based on the money you earn at your job.

A Wage Garnishment Depends on Your Total Disposable Income

Creditors can only take 25 percent of your wages based on how much money you make—with wage garnishment exceptions. However, you are eligible for wage garnishment exemption if you don't make enough disposable income. For instance, if you are low income, you're exempt from a wage garnishment because you must be left with enough money to support yourself. Another wage garnishment exemption is the 25 percent limitation. The limitation is for all creditors. Thus, if one creditor obtains the 25 percent, then no other creditor can garnish your wages.

Wage Garnishment Exemptions Help You Keep the Money You Work For

You can go back to court for a wage garnishment exemption. For example, petition your local court (the court that granted the judgment) to stop the garnishment. When you petition the court, you must provide evidence to why you need the money being garnished. Your evidence should include monthly utility bills, rent or mortgage or telephone bills. If the judge agrees, the garnishment stops.

Creditors Can't Just Garnish Your Paychecks without Going to Court

Before creditors garnish your wages, they must complete a legal process. For instance, creditors initiate the process with a lawsuit. Then they must win the lawsuit. This will occur either by successfully pleading their case in court or through a summary judgment. Creditors will garnish wages after they petition the court which found in their favor. The court document is then sent to your employer. The employer can take the money from your paychecks, but they can't fire you because of a wage garnishment. According to the Department of Labor (DOL), employers aren't allowed to fire anyone just because they have their wages garnished.

Seek Legal Assistance about Wage Garnishments

If a creditor is threatening to garnish your wages or you want to stop a wage garnishment, contact a lawyer. The lawyer will assist you in stopping a fraudulent wage garnishment or keep all of the money you earn.

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