Guiding You Toward A Brighter Financial Future

When can a creditor request wage garnishment against you?

On Behalf of | May 16, 2024 | Credit Card Debt

Few things are as dismaying as receiving your paycheck only to find a significant chunk missing. This could be the reality if a creditor initiates wage garnishment against you. 

But why exactly would this happen to you, and what types of debts can trigger it? By exploring the legalities surrounding wage garnishment, you can better understand when a creditor can request it and your rights in such situations.

What is wage garnishment?

Wage garnishment can allow your creditor to collect a debt you owe by directly withholding a portion of your paycheck. In this case, your employer essentially becomes a middleman. They subtract the court-ordered amount from your paychecks and send it to the creditor until your debt is settled. Suppose this is your current predicament; it is crucial to understand the circumstances that made this possible.

When can your creditor request wage garnishment?

Most wage garnishments by creditors are based on a court judgment. This can happen if you default on a debt and the creditor sues you in court. 

That said, it’s crucial to remember that sometimes creditors can garnish your wages without a court order. For example, the government has the authority to garnish your wages for unpaid federal student loans and back taxes without obtaining a court order.

Luckily, even with a court order, creditors cannot take everything. Federal law shields a portion of your paychecks from garnishment. The amount that’s protected from garnishment will depend on whether you’re single or married and the number of your dependents. 

If you’re facing wage garnishment, you can try to negotiate with your creditor about a suitable payment plan to settle your debt. You can also pursue personalized legal guidance to better understand your rights and explore potential legal challenges to the garnishment order.