Requirements for Wage Garnishment - There Are Laws
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Requirements for Wage Garnishment

If you're struggling with debts and unable to pay your creditors each month, the worst thing that can happen is a reduction to your pay. However, for millions of Americans, this happens when creditors garnish their wages.

If you're you behind on payments and worried about garnishment, you may want to take action soon. There are, however, requirements for wage garnishment that must be met. In addition, bankruptcy is designed stop wage garnishment in its tracks.

Is bankruptcy the solution for you? To connect with a local bankruptcy lawyer for a free case evaluation, fill out the brief form below and learn more about your rights under garnishment laws.

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Wage Garnishment Rules

Creditors cannot unilaterally tap into your paychecks, no matter how much you might owe. In fact, there are a rigid set of requirements creditors must meet before they can begin taking your hard-earned money.

Creditors will often try other tactics first, resorting to wage garnishment often as a last resort. If, however, a person falls too far behind on debts like medical or credit card bills, wage garnishment may occur.

While garnishment laws vary widely by state, requirements for wage garnishment typically include:

  • A court order. Your creditor cannot garnish your wages without official permission from a court.
  • A limited amount. Creditors usually cannot take more than 25 percent of your disposable income from your paychecks, but this amount may depend on your state's specific laws. While limited, this amount can still make a significant impact on someone's financial situation, especially if they're already struggling.

Thus, there are some hurdles for a creditor to leap over in order to garnish your wages. These requirements for wage garnishment, however, do not prevent the practice from occurring fairly frequently.

The good news is that bankruptcy was expressly designed to help stop creditor's efforts to collect, including wage garnishment.

Bankruptcy is Designed to Stop Wage Garnishment

When you successfully file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you should automatically receive the benefits of the automatic stay during your case, which temporarily stops your creditors from harassing you.

Types of collection actions that are immediately thwarted by the automatic stay include:

  • Wage garnishment
  • Home foreclosure
  • Car repossession
  • Collection phone calls and letters

In addition to stopping aggressive creditor practices, the automatic stay also gives bankruptcy filers some time to get their finances in order.

Through Chapter 7, a filer may be able to discharge some or all of their unsecured debts, thus making the future use of wage garnishment unnecessary.

Through Chapter 13, an individual can consolidate their debts into a single payment plan, which often allows a filer to create a more reasonable payment schedule for his or her debts.

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