Personal Injury Attorney
What kind of creditors can legally take money from your paycheck by garnishing your wages? A wage garnishment is an order given by a government agency or court mandating your employer take a designated amount of money from your paycheck and send it to the person or entity where you owe money. The percentage or amount that can be taken or ‘garnished’ will be based on the kind of debt. There are also state and federal limits to wage garnishment.
In order to be able to garnish your wages, most creditors have to file a lawsuit resulting in a money judgment and then a court order presented to your employer in order to garnish your wages.
The kind of debt will determine whether or not the creditor needs a court order.
Types of Creditors and How They Can Garnish Your Wages
For the majority of your debt — for example, medical expenses or credit cards — your creditor is not able to garnish your wages simply because you did not pay your bill. First the creditor has to sue you, win the case and get a judgment. Then the court issues the order to garnish your wages.
Is There a Limit to How Much of Your Wages Can Be Garnished?
Federal law says that no more than 25 percent of your disposable income or if the amount of money that your weekly disposable earning is greater than 30 times the federal minimum wage, whichever one is lower.
Understand that states are permitted to enact stronger terms. An attorney experienced in wage garnishment can answer questions pertaining to state laws and any other concerns you may have regarding wage garnishment.
Entities Who Can Garnish Your Wages Without Going to Court
Some debts need to be addressed in a shorter period of time because of the nature of the debt. These include:
Alimony and Child Support
Orders for child support can automatically be taken from your wages. In addition, if you take care of health insurance for your child or children, the necessary amount will also be garnished from your wages.
Child support garnishes can be more than the 25 percent that other creditors can legally deduct from your disposable income. For child support purposes, your disposable earnings can be garnished up to fifty percent. That amount can go up by another five percent if you are three months or more behind in your support payments.
Unpaid Back Taxes
The federal government — more specifically the IRS — does not need a court order to garnish your wages for back taxes. The amount the IRS can take is dependent on your current deductions and how many dependants you claim.
In addition to the federal government, local and state municipalities can also get unpaid taxes from you by garnishing your wages. The percentages they can take will vary by state, so any questions should be directed to your attorney or your state’s department of labor.
The US Department of Education has the right to garnish your wages without a court order. This amount cannot exceed fifteen percent of disposable wages.
Contact a wage garnishment lawyer, like a wage garnishment lawyer, with any questions or concerns about your wages being garnished.