What is wage garnishment and how can it affect your paychecks?
Falling behind on your debts means you’re already likely having some financial struggles. The last thing you need at a time like that is for your wages to be garnished, reducing what you have on hand to pay the things that are most important. However, just about any debt you have is eligible to garnish your wages, though the debt holder needs to jump through some legal hoops first.
Wage garnishment orders
When a company you owe a lot of money to wants to garnish your wages, they first have to get a wage garnishment order. They take that order to court and basically just need to prove that they have a right to some of your money.
If they can prove their case, they can have a percentage of your money taken and paid directly to them. When they do this, you will receive notice. However, if you owe money to a government agency (such as on student loans), they do not need to inform you and you may find your paychecks surprisingly shorter.
Eligible debts for garnishment
Which debts could lead to wage garnishment? Pretty much all of them, sadly. Credit card debts, student loans, child support, unpaid taxes etc. can all lead to garnishments.
What varies from case to case is just how much of your wages can be garnished. The federal government can take up to 15% for taxes and up to 65% if you owe child support. The total amount of garnishment varies depending upon some factors, including what state you live in.
When your wages cannot be garnished
There are very few times when you are not susceptible to wage garnishment. If you make less than $217.50 a week than you cannot be garnished for credit card debts or some other types of consumer debts.
If you find your wages being garnished, it is time to consider some serious changes to your life. Paying off your debts in a timely manner becomes much more necessary and may demand some sacrifices in other areas.