Monthly Archives: March 2013

Wage garnishment ā€“ How to stop it and keeping the paycheck intact

It can be a devastating experience for anyone to have his paycheck garnished from his weekly or monthly income. But there are successful ways of avoiding a wage garnishment. Wages are garnished from the debtors paycheck after the creditor gets a judgment for the outstanding debt balance. The creditor gets in touch with a sheriff who will send the garnishment paperwork to the debtor’s employer. The payroll department will review the garnishment papers and money will be taken out from the paycheck until the judgment is satisfied.

  • How long will the check be garnished?

Garnishment laws are different in every state. Some state laws will allow the creditor to pull out money from the debtors paycheck once, whereas in other states, the creditor will garnish the wages until the debt is satisfied. It is important that you are well aware of your state laws regarding garnishment. However, there are some wages that are exempt from garnishment. For example, welfare unemployment, Veteran benefits, Social security, Workers compensation, child support, Pension, sick and vacation days cannot be touched for garnishment.

  • How much can be taken out from your check?

Again it varies with laws of every state. Most states allow up to 25% on regular debt. 50% can be taken out in case of child support or alimony. If you have a second child or a spouse, then it can be garnished up to 60% of your paycheck.

  • How to stop a wage garnishment?

You can stop your wages from being garnished by filing a wage garnishment exemption with the court or with the levy officer within 10 days from the start of the wage garnishment process. Basically, you have to show official documents to prove that you cannot afford the money from being taken out because of your present financial hardship and you have a family to support. Your ability to prove the fact that a garnishment will prevent you from buying the basic needs like food, clothing etc. will help a lot. If you file a claim for exemption and the creditor fails to challenge it within a certain period of time allowed by the court, the judge may rule in your favor and set the garnishment aside.

You, or with the help of an attorney, may file a motion to set aside, suppress, or void a writ of garnishment due to lack of jurisdiction or unlawful bases. You can challenge the writ by saying that you never owed the debit in the first place, or the SOL period in your state has expired. You can also dispute the validity of the debt.

When you are settling the debt amount, make sure that you get a release letter so that the creditor is not able to collect the difference amount at a later stage. It is important to get a satisfaction of judgment letter. This document will prove to the court that the debt has been paid in full.

Important Resources:

http://www.dol.gov/compliance/guide/garnish.htm

https://www.ftb.ca.gov/Bills_and_Notices/wage.shtml

http://www.fms.treas.gov/debt/awg.html