What You Should Know About Wage Garnishment

Are you in debt, owe money to creditors, and you're worried about your wages being garnished? If so, know that this doesn't automatically happen just because you owe someone money. Here is what you need to know about wage garnishment.

You Must Have A Court Judgement Against You

The most common reason for wage garnishment is if you were sued in court for money that you are owed, and the plaintiff wins a judgement against you. However, wage garnishment doesn't start automatically. That judgement can be used to request a writ of execution, which then legally allows your wages to be garnished as a way for the creditor to get their money back. The time frame of how quickly this will take place will vary since your employer needs to work with the courts to comply and start garnishing your wages. 

You May Have Exempt Wages

Even if your employer has been ordered to garnish your wages, know that some wages may be exempt from wage garnishment. For example, if you are currently receiving Social Security income, that check from the Social Security Administration office will not be garnished prior to you receiving it. You may also have exempt income that you receive through child support or alimony, a disability, or from retirement. Of course, every state has its own laws regarding what wages are exempt and what percentage of those wages are protected, so make sure to know about how local laws apply to you.

You May Receive A Bank Levy

A bank levy allows the creditor to go to your bank and request a bank levy. This actually allows the creditor to go after the money in your savings account, which can be problematic if it includes exempt wages that are not supposed to be taken away from you.

You'll Need Legal Help To Stop Garnishment

There are a few ways that you can stop your wages from being garnished, which is why it is best to work with a lawyer. If you are unable to pay back the judgement against you, it is possible to use bankruptcy to issue an automatic stay, which prevents creditors from coming after you for money that you owe. This happens immediately when filing for bankruptcy and will last until the bankruptcy is finalized. 

Need legal assistance with your wages being garnished? Reach out to a lawyer that has worked in these cases. A company, such as Havner Law Firm, can provide additional information.