If you have unpaid debts and have not found a way to come to a resolution with your creditors, they may resort to garnishing your wages. Wage garnishment is a very serious action that is often seen as a last-resort means of collecting payment and it can be crucial that you understand your rights if you find yourself at risk of creditors taking money right from your paycheck.
To begin with, you should understand what happens when a wage garnishment petition has been granted by the courts. This allows a creditor to take a portion of your wages and/or property to pay down a judgment.
However, state and federal laws strictly note that there are certain items and amounts of money that cannot be garnished. These are referred to as exemptions and you can file a claim to protect them from being taken. Exemptions include certain government benefits, college trust funds, pensions and even prescribed health aids.
There are also limits on how much of your wages can be garnished. For instance, Florida laws prohibit garnishment of wages if a person is the head of a family and makes less than $750 a week. Wages can also be protected if you provide more than 50 percent of support for a dependent.
Finally, there are ways you can stop wage garnishment. Filing for bankruptcy, for example, can stop these actions immediately.
If you have received a Writ of Garnishment or are afraid that such actions may be just around the corner, it can be crucial that you discuss your situation and options with an attorney sooner, rather than later. Doing so can help you take control of the situation and work toward a resolution that can put you back on the right financial track.