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Garnishment and Your Rights

Garnishment and Your Rights
Tainted Joe - Wed Apr 25, 2012 @ 11:42AM
Comments: 26

You may have just recieved your paycheck, and it is almost 50% short. You run directly to the Payroll Department to see what the problem might be, it had to, after all, be a terrible and gross error. It must be because they laid off the lady who knew what she was doing and replaced her with someone that didn't. The bad news is you discover your wages have been garnished. Your first question is what is a wage garnishment? What? Me? I had a lawsuit or judgment against me and now my company is involved? This is crazy! What has the world come to? Unfortunately, if you have a judgment against you, collection of it can turn into a garnishment of your wages, and in many cases there is absolutely nothing you can do. 

The only good news is that there are some Federal and state laws that protect you from too severe of wage garnishment. The bad news is that the protection isn't so great. The Consumer Credit Protection Act protects you from being garnished more than 25% for ordinary debts, unless you are making a ton of money, but you can be on the hook for more than 50% for things like tax bills, bankruptcy obligations, or child support. There is sometimes nothing you can do but try to live off a smaller paycheck, but in some cases you'll end up losing your house. In any event, there are three places to go for help in most cases. They are your HR department, your state Department of Labor, or an attorney. Sometimes you can appeal a garnishment based on how it was calculated, and sometimes you can be involved in the actual calculations. Depending on your jurisdiction, some courts may be willing to lower your garnishment obligation based on hardship. You basically argue to the court that your debt will never be paid because if you take such a cut in pay as a result of your garnishment you won't be able to afford living in your area and working your job.

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