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Can my creditors take my paycheck?

On Behalf of | Sep 20, 2021 | Bankruptcy

In this uncertain economy, you may find it is more and more difficult to make your paycheck stretch, and before you know it, you are delinquent on your obligations. Falling behind on your debt payments can place you in a tough position. 

Your creditors might take action quickly. After numerous efforts to collect the debt, they may resort to wage garnishment. This is an action that requires your creditor to obtain a court order to take a percentage of your regular income until the debt is satisfied. If you have received a notice that a creditor intends to garnish your wages, you may have concerns about what that means for your future. 

How much will they take? 

Wage garnishment is a serious concern. If you are already struggling to pay your debts and bills, a wage garnishment can be devastating. It means the amount of your paycheck will drop, which could make it difficult for you to meet your other obligations. Typically, various creditors can request that the court order your employer to send them a certain amount of your paycheck, including the following: 

  • A credit card debt can result in a garnishment of 25% — less if your weekly income is lower than $290. 
  • Medical debt, personal loans and other types of consumer debt follow the formula for credit card garnishment. 
  • Tax debt allows the government to take as much as 15% of your pay, depending on the number of your dependents and other factors. 
  • Delinquent student loans can also lower your pay by 15%. 

If you owe child support or spousal support, the courts can authorize a garnishment as high as 60% of your pay. The limit is 50% if you are also supporting other children or a spouse, but if you are behind on your support obligations for longer than 12 weeks, the court may approve increasing this by 5%. 

What is your next step? 

It is possible that Georgia has some protections or exemptions for which you qualify, and it might be worth it to you to research these and obtain some sound advice about your options. You may even consider bankruptcy debt relief, which requires creditors to stop any collection actions, including wage garnishment. 

If you have received notice that a garnishment is in your future, you have no time to lose. Although the law prevents an employer from terminating someone under a wage garnishment, you certainly do not want to face the embarrassment of that situation, not to mention the pay cut that may leave you struggling even more than your current situation.