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Understanding wage garnishment

by | Jul 10, 2015 | Chapter 7

If you are struggling with debt and have been unable to pay your bills, creditors have ways to recover that money. One way to do so is with wage garnishment. If this occurs, your employer will be court-ordered to withhold a portion of your income until the debt is paid. Understanding how it works is the first step you should take to stop wage garnishment.

There are a number of debts that can result in wage garnishment. These include personal loans (including credit cards), student loans, back taxes, child support and court settlements. Generally, your wages will not be garnished until you fall behind quite a bit on your payments. But, creditors can technically begin the process at any time.

To begin garnishing your income, creditors usually must first get approval from the courts. You should receive a letter stating the details of the hearing. This will grant you the opportunity to fight against the garnishment if you wish. If the courts find the garnishment justified, your employer will receive instructions to withhold a portion of your income. Your employer must notify you in writing of the action.

Creditors cannot have more than 25 percent of your income withheld in most cases. Some debts, like child support, could result in much higher withholdings. This means if you have two creditors garnishing your wages and the first is taking 25 percent, the other must wait until the first debt is paid. It is also important to note that your employer cannot fire you for wage garnishments from a single creditor. However, if you are facing two or more at once, your employer can terminate your employment.

One way to stop wage garnishment in New Jersey is by filing for chapter 7 bankruptcy. This liquidates your assets to cover your debts. Anyone who is facing garnishment should contact a bankruptcy lawyer soon to learn about your options.


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