Your Options When Faced with Wage Garnishment
February 21, 2022
Receiving a legal notice of wage garnishment can be a shock even if you are aware of the debt owed. It can also be overwhelming. Understanding what garnishment is, what rights you have and what steps you can take all give you more control of a stressful situation.
What is Wage Garnishment?
With garnishment, your employer is forced to withhold a portion of your pay each period so that it can be used to pay your debt. A creditor can ask the court to allow them to garnish your wages for a credit card or other commercial debt. Government agencies may not need a court order for debts such as child support, federal student loans or back taxes. The maximum amount that can be garnished will vary depending on the type of debt you are repaying.
What are Your Garnishment Rights?
Everyone facing garnishment has the right to be notified in writing. You should receive details such as how much is being garnished and what debt it is repaying. You also have the right to file a dispute if you feel you shouldn’t owe the debt for any reason or the garnishment includes wrong information. Some types of income, including Social Security disability benefits, are exempt from garnishment. Workers with only one garnishment judgment against them cannot be fired by their employer.
What Can You Do After Being Notified?
There are several reasons you may want to dispute the wage garnishment decision. The validity of the debt or who is responsible for it are two of the most common. However, you can also challenge it if the garnishment would cause “undue harm” to you or your family. If you would rather personally set up a payment arrangement with the creditor and not have your employer involved, you can contact them to discuss it. For some types of debt, paying it off quickly by taking out a personal loan or borrowing from family responsibly can prove beneficial long-term.
If you’ve received a legal notice of wage garnishment and are unsure of your next steps, contact the office of George R. Belche to schedule a consultation. Our experienced team can provide guidance and possible financial options to ease your burden.
George R. Belche, Attorney at Law
189 West Pike Street, Suite 103
Lawrenceville, GA 30046