Time and again, bankruptcy lawyers such as those of Los Angeles based law firm Recovery Law Group reiterate that with a few exceptions (taxes, alimony, child support, student loan etc.) garnishment does not take place in states of California, Nevada and Texas unless a creditor has filed a case against you in a law of court and obtained judgment against you. In case they get a judgment against you, they need to file a request for garnishment which is issued to your employer. With this notice, your employer will need to provide your wages to the creditors at a specified time. However, the process requires you to be aware (via a notice) of the garnishment. Post receiving the notice, you need to ensure that you take appropriate actions against it (demand garnishment hearing, prove federal exemptions to the wage garnishment, etc.)
Considering that you are already going through bad financial times, wage garnishment can really make life difficult. It is important that adequate steps are taken to prevent such instances from happening. One of the ways you can prevent garnishment is that according to federal laws, first $217.50 of weekly take-home pay (after deduction of taxes and social security) is totally exempted from garnishment. In case your wage is more than the mentioned amount, your employer needs to pay the garnishing collector either of the smaller amounts:
- Your weekly pay after deductions and exemptions ($217.50) or
- 25% of your weekly pay after deductions
The specific amount is linked to minimum wage. In case the hourly minimum increases from $7.25 per hour, the weekly amount also increases. It must be kept in mind that this rule applies to wages only as per the federal rule. Supplemental Security income, Social Security payments, and unemployment are exempt from any non-governmental garnishing creditors.
If you wish to tackle the issue of a wage garnishment, it would be better if you take the services of an experienced bankruptcy lawyer. You can opt for filing for bankruptcy under either Chapter 13 or Chapter 7. When you file for bankruptcy, the automatic stay is enforced which stops creditors from taking any garnishment actions. Simultaneously, the defense should be built up to either slow down or prevent the creditors from any garnishment action.