Going into debt can unfortunately impact every area of your life, even the money you make at work. Creditors will do whatever they can to get their money back and often enforce wage garnishments on those with unpaid debt.
There are, however, both federal and state laws that creditors are expected to abide by. These laws govern how much they can garnish and for what reason. Most notably, California law prohibits creditors from garnishing more than 25% of your wages after deductions. After that, there are numerous other guidelines in place regarding wage garnishment.
Can my wages be garnished at any time?
Creditors are required to obtain a court judgment stating that you owe money before they can garnish your wages. This applies to any money that you owe the creditor.
The only exceptions to this rule are the following:
- Court ordered child support
- Child support arrears
- Unpaid income taxes
- Defaulted student loans
These do not require a court judgment to be obtained before your wages can be garnished. Federal law states that debtors must have enough money left to pay living expenses after a wage garnishment. So while 25% is generally the rule, creditors may also garnish the amount by which your weekly disposable earnings exceed 40 times California's hourly minimum wage—whichever is the lesser amount of the two.
If you have more than one garnishment in place at any time, the total amount of money that can be taken is maxed out at 25%. This applies to any kind of debt, whether the federal government is garnishing your wages, or your employer has been ordered to do so.
The idea of having your money taken to pay off certain debts can be overwhelming, especially when it's already difficult enough to make ends meet. At Scott Mitchell Law Incorporated, we understand where you're coming from and want to personally represent you. Call today to speak with our Modesto bankruptcy attorney!