Garnishment 101: How Does It Work?
Ignoring your debts – whether they are from credit cards, medical bills, taxes or more – can lead to frozen bank accounts and garnished wages.
What Are The Steps in Wage Garnishments?
First, your creditor(s) will sue you in a court of law, in hopes of getting a judgment against you. You will be given notice of the lawsuit when court documents are presented to you in person. You will be required to go to court to defend yourself against the suit.
If you lose the lawsuit and a judgment is entered against you, your creditor can garnish your wages by sending a copy of the court order to your employer. Your employer will notify you of the garnishment and begin withholding a portion of your wages, which are then sent to the creditor. This is used to pay off your debt.
Luckily, the Consumer Credit Protection Act (CCPA) limits the amount of money that your creditors can take from your income. Your disposable income is calculated – the amount left after taxes and Social Security are subtracted. The court may then choose to deduct up to 25% of your disposable income to service the debt.
This means that if you made $400 a week, $100 could be deducted from your check before you even receive it.
The CCPA also protects your right to continue working. You can’t be fired for having your wages garnished for one debt. However, if you have multiple garnishments, you aren’t protected from being fired.
If you have a pending or current garnishment, you need the advice of a lawyer. Bankruptcy proceedings can help get you out of the weight of a garnishment and on the path to a fresh financial start. Call us today at 816-842-6200 to speak with an attorney. Or you can email us and schedule your free consultation.