If you are having trouble getting out of debt, wage garnishment can make the situation even more difficult. However, if your wages are being garnished by a creditor in Georgia, you may have options to stop this garnishment. Moreover, working with an experienced wage garnishment attorney in Georgia can help you navigate this complex process and find a solution that works for you.
What Is Wage Garnishment?
Wage garnishment is a legal process that allows creditors to obtain a court order to directly receive a portion of a person’s paychecks to fulfill certain financial debts. This order requires employers to withhold a specified amount of earnings each month.
Wage Garnishment Laws
There are different rules regarding wage garnishment, which usually depend on the type of debt you have. For instance, for consumer credit, including medical bills and credit cards, federal law limits the amount of a judgment a creditor can receive, which is usually the lessor of:
- 25% of a person’s net earnings, or
- The amount by which a person’s disposable earnings exceed 30 times the federal minimum wage
However, other debt sources do not need a court order for wage garnishment, and the allowed levels are usually higher. These debts include:
- Student loans
- Child support, and
It is important to note that if multiple creditors attempt to garnish your wages, the total amount cannot be greater than the legal limit set for a single creditor.
When a Wage Garnishment Is Paid, What Happens?
After a creditor secures the right to garnish a person’s paycheck, they can deduct money from that individual’s paycheck until the debt is paid off in full. After that debt is paid, the creditor should instruct the employer to stop the garnishment.
How Can Bankruptcy Stop Garnishment?
When a person files for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, creditors can no longer make any collection efforts. This is because filing for bankruptcy initiates a protection by the court, referred to as an “automatic stay.” This stay applies to all types of creditor actions, including garnishments, which means bankruptcy will immediately stop the garnishment process.
What Happens If You Change Jobs While Wages Are Being Garnished?
If you change jobs as your wages are being garnished, the process will stop. However, this stop is only temporary, and the debt collector will likely initiate the process with your new employer. As a result, it is only a matter of time before garnishment will continue.
How Long Does It Take for Wage Garnishments To Stop?
In Georgia, garnishments can be either a lump-sum deduction or a continuous deduction. In the past, continuous garnishments lasted for a maximum pay period of six months. However, under the new state laws, continuing garnishments can last up to three years.
Contact Duncan & Brow, Attorneys at Law, LLLP, for More Information Regarding Wage Garnishments
If you have questions about wage garnishments and bankruptcy in Georgia or want to know if you are a candidate for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, contact Duncan & Brow, Attorneys at Law, LLLP, today to review your questions in detail.