How to protect yourself from wage garnishment

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It is possible that a creditor could obtain a court order to garnish your wages.  In other words, they can take money right out of your paycheck to pay your debts.  In some cases, wage garnishments may take more than half of your paycheck.

Wage garnishment is a drastic step, often used by creditors that have no claim to any of your property. Without any property or collateral to back up your credit card purchases or medical bills, a creditor may file a lawsuit against you and ask the court to grant their motion for your wages to be garnished.  Depending on your debt, the court will assign a percentage of your paycheck to be automatically deducted and sent to the creditor. Oftentimes up to 25 percent of your disposable income could be taken away from you. In cases of tax debt, much more could be taken out.

Wage Garnishment Laws

It’s possible that your spouse’s wages be garnished because of your debts.  In California, married couple’s debts and assets are considered community property. In this case, your spouse’s wages might be at stake even if the credit card and the debts are under your name.

As required by law, your employer must comply with the court order, and will be unable to stop wage garnishment. However, you are also protected by the same law, which says that an employer may not fire you because your wages are being garnished.

Wages are often garnished for the following reasons:

  1. Credit card lawsuit – Once a credit card account goes into default, and the creditor decides it cannot collect, it may sell the debt to a debt collection company. If the credit card or debt collection company is unsuccessful in recovering the debt, then a lawsuit may be filed against the consumer in an attempt to recover its losses. If the ruling in the lawsuit goes against the consumer, a judgment may be issued to garnish property, bank accounts or wages. 
  1. Tax liens: unpaid state and federal taxes – The IRS and State Taxing Authorities have the power to collect back taxes by levying on taxpayers’ property as a result of a tax lien. When a person owes back taxes, the IRS/State can collect a lien on a particular taxpayer’s assets after meeting certain statutory requirements, which attaches to all rights, title and interest of the taxpayer.

Once the IRS/State has a lien on all of a taxpayer’s assets, they may enforce it by administratively levying his/her assets.  As a collection tactic, the IRS/State often imposes a wage garnishment, which means that they literally take money out of every paycheck – often enough seriously jeopardizing an individual’s lifestyle and making it impossible to maintain the same standard of living.  

  1. Delinquent child support – Pursuant to child support enforcement laws in the United States, statutes permit the use of a variety of types of garnishments to collect past due child support, according to Find Law. 
  1. Delinquent spouse support (alimony) – There is numerous ways to enforce an order for spousal support or alimony, including entry of a money judgment and wage garnishment. However, the availability these enforcement tools and how they are used are controlled by state laws and/or the rules of the courts in your area

Wage garnishment will only stop if:

  1. Your debts are settled
  2. Automatic stay in bankruptcy stops the action

If you are already facing financial disaster, garnishment can make it harder for you to support yourself and your family. By filing either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you have the power to stop the action.  Both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy may stop wage garnishment.  In the case of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the garnishment will stop for several years as you work through your repayment plan. In a Chapter 7, each state’s exemptions provide protections against wage garnishment. 

Note: This is not a legal advice and you need to speak to an attorney.  The Law Offices of Crispin C. Lozano has 20 years of experience in bankruptcy cases.  

Why China may annex the Philippines

China may annex the Philippines after the May 2022 election because of China’s ambition to control the West Philippine Sea which will enable them to control all and the important sea passage.  When this happens, all of us including our children and grandchildren will become slaves of Communist China.  This is something that we have to fight to the last drop of blood.  We will have no more country because we were sold by our politicians.  The only way we can do is to protest in unity.  This is a right granted in our constitution and a basic human rights nobody can deny. .  We need to unite in order to defeat the current administration and its allies running for President.    Listen to Percy Lapid (or Lapid Fire) and Waldy Carbonell on You Tube and Facebook for details and more corruption in the government.

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