If you owe money to a creditor, they can obtain a court order for collection, typically through wage garnishment. Creditors who have the authority to garnish your wages can take a significant portion of your earnings, leaving you with little to spend. However, you can prevent this by hiring a wage garnishment attorney to stop the wage garnishment process.
Reasons for Wage Garnishment
Wage garnishment is a method by which creditors can recover payment after winning a judgment against you. First, they file necessary papers with the court and then instruct your employer to deduct money from your salary in order to cover your debts.
Note that wages may still be garnished even without a judgment being entered against them. Administrative wage garnishment can be used to collect child and spousal support payments even from recipients willing to make them, as well as outstanding taxes or student loan debts.
When Should I Consider Hiring a Wage Garnishment Attorney
Review all documentation in your possession in order to gain as much insight into a garnishment as possible. If any questions arise, reach out directly to your creditor. Talk with your employer’s financial institution or payroll department. Contact the court; and/or check public records to determine who has taken money from you.
When can an attorney be helpful?
- You have already paid off the debt.
- You do not owe this debt.
- The creditor has garnished too much.
- You are willing to negotiate other payment options.
- A creditor will garnish a bank account to circumvent a wage exemption.
- You can stop wage garnishments by declaring bankruptcy.
- You are threatened with termination by your employer because of wage garnishment. This is illegal.
Trustworthy legal professionals will give you honest answers that can help you make the right decision.
Wage Garnishment Considerations
A wage garnishment attorney can be helpful, whether you want to stop the garnishment process or just navigate through it. It is because of the following:
There are limits on wage garnishments
Creditors cannot garnish more than 25 percent of their wages to pay off debts. However, for child support, an income withholding order can take up to 50 percent (or 60 percent if the child support is past due) of your salary. Additionally, if you owe taxes, up to 75 percent of your wages can be garnished.
You have the right to object to wage garnishment
If you receive pension income, social insurance benefits or any other funds protected by law; have agreed to an installment payment order or filed for bankruptcy, an objection to garnishment can be filed. This is applicable if the amount being garnished exceeds the maximum allowed or if the court judgment has already been paid.
Filing an application for installment payments
The court can assist in this regard and can prevent creditors from garnishing your wages. When filing such an action, however, specific legal procedures must be observed, and should you fail to make payments on time, your creditors could resume wage garnishments.
Wage garnishment lawyers can also explore other options, such as debt settlement. The amount of disposable income remaining after wage garnishment will determine the potential settlement amount. If you have no disposable income, Chapter 7 bankruptcy could be the right solution to help reduce or eliminate debts; this process typically takes up to six months. Conversely, if there is money left over after paying bills, Chapter 13 bankruptcy offers another solution for restructuring debt and payments, yet may take several years before completion.
Filing for bankruptcy will immediately halt all wage garnishment. After filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy, any wages garnished within 90 days prior to your filing can be returned back to you as soon as your attorney ensures they’re not subject to garnishment. Your lawyer will also ensure any other funds not subject to garnishment are promptly distributed back into your hands.
A Los Angeles Wage Garnishment Attorney Defends Debtor’s Rights
Wage garnishment is indeed an effective method employed by creditors to collect debts. It involves a court order or a government agency requiring employers to withhold a portion of the debtor’s wages and send it directly to the creditor. Both federal and California laws impose restrictions on how creditors can utilize this remedy.
At Tenina Law, we prioritize the protection of your debtor rights, ensuring that you are not subjected to illegal or abusive garnishment. We also strive to secure legal safeguards on your behalf. It’s important to note that all forms of bankruptcy offer protection against wage garnishment. If bankruptcy is filed before the garnished funds are sent to the creditors, I can assist in recovering the garnished money for the debtor.
How the Law Limits Creditors’ Rights to Garnish
Creditors can only garnish wages for most forms of debt after filing suit and securing a court judgment and garnishment order against you. Both federal and state laws place limits on how much of your wages can be garnished. Usually, this figure relates to what’s left after taxes have been withheld from your pay by employers; California allows creditors to garnish either amount.
- You can spend up to 25 percent of the money you earn.
- Your disposable income is greater than 40 times the minimum wage in your state.
Creditors may garnish the lesser of these amounts under federal law. This could apply to assets located outside California.
- You can spend up to 25 percent of the money you earn.
- Your disposable income is greater than 30 times the federal minimum wage.
California’s debtor wage laws are more generous than federal law. Your disposable income may be so low that creditors will not even garnish your wages.
Wage Garnishments Without Court Judgments
You can garnish your wages for three different types of debts without a court order. Each of these has a limit on how much creditors may take. The three types of debt are:
- Taxes: The federal government can garnish up to 80 percent of your earnings for unpaid taxes without needing court authorization, while in California state and local government can garnish as little as 25 percent.
- Child Support: All child support orders include provisions for wage garnishment; this amount typically ranges between 50-60% depending on whether there are additional dependents not covered by your orders. If child supports arrears have been accruing for 12 months or longer, courts can order that parent who owes support pay 5 percent of their disposable income in support.
- Student Loans: If you fail to repay your student loans on time, the U.S. Department of Education can garnish up to 15 percent of your earnings – though the maximum limit cannot surpass 30 times your minimum wage amount.
What Can Bankruptcy Do to Prevent Garnishment
When you file for bankruptcy, the court will typically impose an automatic stay, which halts or prevents most types of garnishments. However, it’s important to note that the automatic stay does not apply to garnishments for domestic support obligations, such as child support or alimony.
In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the automatic stay will effectively stop any wage garnishment, but you will still need to continue making payments toward your debts as part of the bankruptcy repayment plan. It’s worth mentioning that if you have a history of abusing the bankruptcy process, you may not qualify for an automatic stay.
Contact a California Certified Bankruptcy Attorney to Stop Wage Garnishment-
If you’re dealing with wage garnishment and require immediate legal assistance, Tenina Law is the firm to turn to. With over 20 years of experience and an impressive success rate of 98%, we are the trusted experts in bankruptcy law in California.
As a certified specialist in bankruptcy, I am committed to ensuring that my clients fully understand their rights and are protected from any misuse of the wage garnishment remedy. We possess extensive knowledge of the legal remedies available to minimize or completely halt garnishments.
Conveniently situated in Los Angeles, our skilled team is prepared to provide personalized and professional guidance tailored to your specific needs. Don’t allow wage garnishment to dictate your financial future. Take proactive steps today and schedule a consultation with Tenina Law.
To arrange your consultation at our Los Angeles office, please call us at (213) 596-0265. Our friendly staff is ready to assist you. Let us assist you in regaining control over your finances and securing a brighter future. Contact Tenina Law now.