I Can’t Afford My Current Wage Garnishment
There are certain debts that can be trouble if they go unpaid, such as child support, alimony, back taxes, or student loans. In fact, failure to pay such debts could lead to wage garnishment, which allows a creditor to take a portion of your wages or retirement payments to cover the debt. Unpaid medical bills and credit card debt can also lead to wage garnishment.
But what happens if you can’t afford the garnishment amount?
Should I Try to Fight Garnishment?
A good garnishment attorney can help you if a creditor is taking too much of your salary, leaving you unable to cover basic living expenses without adding significantly to your debt. However, because legal fees may exceed the amount of a judgement, it may be in your best interest to allow your wages to be garnished until your debt is settled.
One exemption would be if your employer is threatening to fire you because of the garnishment, which is illegal. In that case, it is vital that you consult with an attorney immediately to protect your financial security.
Garnishment: What You Need to Know
Federal law allows a creditor who files wage garnishment to garnish up to 25 percent of your wages, or the amount of your income that exceeds the federal minimum wage by 30 times, whichever is less.
To break that down, a person who earns minimum wage, currently $7.25 an hour, and has $232 of disposable income a week after deductions, can’t have their wages garnished more than 30 times the federal minimum wage, which is $217.50. That means $14.50 can be garnished from wages per week according to law.
In Maryland, bank accounts can also be garnished.
Surprisingly, wage garnishment is not rare. According to statistics, about 7 percent of workers have experienced wage garnishment, most often for child support, student loans, tax levies, and consumer debt.
Filing Bankruptcy Can Stop Some Garnishments
If you are struggling with debt and don’t have enough disposable income to pay your basic living expenses, stopping a wage garnishment may not be the best solution, even if it might seem so initially.
Filing bankruptcy—either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, if the debt is dischargeable, such as medical bills or credit card debt—can not only stop the wage garnishment, but can also help alleviate the financial troubles that led to the garnishment in the first place. Also, the creditor will immediately be alerted of the bankruptcy filing, which will stop wage garnishment.
Bankruptcy will not have an impact on back taxes, child support or alimony, or student loan debt.
Are You in Search of a Garnishment Attorney?
Contact the law office of Rowena Nelson, LLC. She and her team of skilled attorneys can handle both wage garnishment and bankruptcy cases and can be reached via email at [email protected] or by calling (301)-358-3271 for a consultation.
Located in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, Rowena N. Nelson’s offices serve the entire state of Maryland.