man holding an envelop full of cash

What are My Options When It Comes to Wage Garnishment?

Wage garnishment is a court-ordered payment taken from a person’s disposable income, which would be used to pay off a massive debt. A certain amount of money from people’s wages or salaries are withheld by their employers and is used to pay off the people or institutions where they owe debt.

Court-ordered garnishments are frequently used to pay off outstanding debts from student loans, back taxes, and child support; occasionally, these would also be sought by persons engaging in a lawsuit. Many lawyers in Salt Lake City explain that wage garnishments are also the result of lawsuits against the debtor by creditors who sue for nonpayment.

Wage garnishments are difficult predicament. People already living with debt garnishments can reduce its financial impact by leveraging exemptions. In some case, however, even the available exemptions would not put sufficient limits to how much garnishments take away from a person’s income, which can put immense strain on their ability to meet daily living expenses.

Seeking State and Legal Assistance

man showing a document to lawyersFor people struggling with the threats posed by garnishment, state legislation often offers many protections against garnishment and its consequences. The state of Utah, for instance, offers wage garnishment rates that cap up to 25% of the debtor’s income regardless of the number of creditors they have. A debtor in Salt Lake City may pay the Federal government 15% of their income, and any subsequent creditor could take at most 10% more.

Also, the state restricts job terminations for people with wage garnishments, preventing companies from avoiding the paperwork by ending the debtor’s employment. Debtors can ask a seasoned attorney to find out about the protections and exemptions available in their home state.

Reducing Debt Obligations

Before legal action, individuals can seek credit counseling services to help them find workable debt management solutions.

Unlike back taxes, student loans, and child support payments, wage garnishments for other creditors cannot be imposed without a specific court order. Responding quickly to demand letters from creditors—who are required to send messages before enacting court orders—can also dissuade them from pursuing this action. Because of the costs and complexities involved, many companies would instead not pursue debt garnishment arrangements and are often open for their debtors’ offers for alternative payment schemes.

Challenging Debt Garnishments

Prompt responses to wage garnishment orders could also be used to avoid unlawful garnishment orders. These would not only prevent lost income but may even overturn the garnishment order as it stands. Debtors should seek the assistance of legal professionals to judge their ability to contest the garnishment and if this course of action is right for them.

Excessive garnishments above what the state allows should be contested immediately. There are state- and federal-mandated limits to how much money garnishments can take from a person at any given time, though this would vary immensely between the types of debts being paid off. Debt garnishments should also be contested if the debts to the creditors had already been paid off through other means prior. Moreover, if the creditors did not follow proper procedure, it may be grounds for the rejection of the garnishment altogether.

Negotiate

Debtors and their legal counsel should always keep lines of communication open with their creditors throughout the process. This would allow them more opportunities to find an appropriate alternative to the garnishment or agree on a more appropriate rate.

It is also important that the debtors appear in the hearing to ensure that their objections are not dismissed. Even if their appeals are rejected, attending the hearing may also open up further negotiations on a more suitable compromise.