August 20, 2017

The Legal Procedure Of Wage Garnishment

A legal procedure, in which some portion of a person’s earning is required to be withheld by an employee for the payment of the debt, is called as wage garnishment. Most of these garnishments are made by court orders. There are some other legal procedures also which include IRS levies or state tax collection agency levies. They levy for the taxes, which are unpaid.

There are assignments in which the employees voluntarily agree that their employers will deposit a particular specified amount of their earnings to their creditor. But in the case of wage garnishment this voluntary assignment does not work.

Title III of Consumer Credit Protection Act says that person has his pay garnished for only one debt then the Act limits the amount of that employee’s earning that may be garnished. It even protects the employee from being fired also. If any garnished controversy in wage garnishment is arises, then the query solution part has to be taken directly to the court or the agency initiating that withholds the action. In the case of wage garnishment, Wage and the House Division, which administers the Title III Act cannot do anything.

The Garnishment law protects everyone from receiving their personal earnings like pensions, salaries, commissions, wages, bonus, etc. this law implies in all the 50 states. Wage garnishment is not prohibited if an employee’s earnings are garnished for or more debts.

There are some restrictions also on wage garnishment. The amount of pay subject to wage garnishment is based on the employee’s disposable earnings which includes federal state and local taxes and the share of employee in State unemployment Insurance and social security. These disposable earnings for wage garnishment under the CCPA many deductions are not made from the employees gross earnings such as voluntary wage assignments, union dues, health and life insurance, savings bonds purchased, payments made for payroll advances, contributions to charitable causes. Only the retirement plan contributions are deducted and that too only those which are required by the law.

For wage garnishment, the garnishment law sets the maximum amount that can be garnished from a person in a particular pay period. During the fixing of the amount, the law does not consider the member of garnishment orders received by the employer. In case of ordinary wage garnishment, which does not include bankruptcy etc., the amount of garnishment in a week may not exceed the lesser of the two figures. The garnishment amount maybe 25% of the disposable earning of the employee or the amount by which his disposable earnings are greater than 30 times the federal minimum wages. Of the pay period is weekly and the disposable earnings are lesser than the amount calculated through the federal minimum wage, then the garnishment cannot be done. A maximum of 25% can be garnished. The law for wage garnishment specifies that the restriction on garnishment does not apply to certain cases where the bankruptcy court order is issued or there are outstanding debts for the federal or state taxes.

Wage garnishment is the last option that an employer goes for. When all the other options for settling the due debts exhaust, then the employer opts for wage garnishment. Most of the wage garnishment requires a court order and even in that they are required to notify the worker 20 days before the garnishment goes into the effect.

If someone ignores the IRS, then wages are the first place that goes in for garnishment. It is not only the IRS but also the state government; private creditors or even an ex-spouse seeking alimony can go in for garnishment. The government creditors can garnish more than the paychecks. But the Title III of the Credit Consumer Protection Act limits the amount of wage garnishment from the worker’s paycheck. This facility leaves an employee with some income and at the same time creditor also get paid up regularly also prevents the creditor to speed up the recovery procedure.

About Henry Byers 1 Article
Henry Byers, Retired IRS Manager and IRS Levy expert - focusing on IRS Garnishment and State Garnishment

26 Comments on The Legal Procedure Of Wage Garnishment

  1. I’ve had my wages garnished by a collection attorney for the past few months. The garnishment is nearly paid, however the same collection attorney is coming after me for another garnishment. Is there a limit to the number of garnishments that can be done against an individual?

  2. my husband has a wage assigmnt for 75.00 a week and now has another garnishment for the 25% of his wages..can they do that with the wage assignmnt to because theya re taking over 250 from his ck everyweek now with this that is way more than 25% when his disposable earnings are 641.43…..i am at a loss with both of these comming out we cant make the house pymnt it leaves 321.25 for his chk

  3. I have back taxes from the state of califorina I now live in Nevada califorina sent a levy to a vender I do work for is this legal or inforecable without a judgement                 rick

  4. My son was sent papers from a marshal’s office in new york city where the court’s had awarded an judgment against him mailing the documents to an address he has not lived at in over 10 years leaving him unaware any court summons.  Actually, he has not lived or worked in New York State for over 10 years.  He’s present income does not cover his bills leaving him to pay what he can when he can and often not buy groceries.  What legals rights does he have.

  5. I live in Las Vegas, Nevada… I received my paystub to find that my wages have been garnished and I was NEVER contacted or notified by anyone that this would be taking place.  Is there some type of laws/rules/protection for employees when it comes to giving notification?

  6. Does wage garnishment follow someone based on their social security number or would you have to get a new court order for wage garnishment everytime the debtor got a new job? I may have to take someone to court and have their wages garnished, but I don’t want to spend a lot of time and money to do this is the debtor can just constantly switch jobs to get out of paying.

  7. i was garnish for a car that i returned in 1998 and this week 04/08/09 they took their first payment out of my check, i knew nothing about this untill i call the home office to see what happen to my check

    can they do this?

  8. I work for a small retail company. We as employees are allowed to charge merchandise on a personal account with N30 terms. If an account goes past due, the head of HR deducts the past due amount from the employees next pay check. Is this legal?


  9. Does wage garnishments stop according to the amount set by the court magistrate or according to the amount filed by the debtor’s lawyer?  The debtor’s lawyer filed for $14,000, but the court magistrate set the debt for $3725.  Which amount will I have to pay?  And how will my employer know when to stop garnishing my wages?

  10. HELP!! My mom just got a letter saying they are garnishing her ENTIRE check until pd in full for a hospital bill.  This can’t be right!!! She called the office and begged and pleaded, but they say "too bad".  What can she do????

  11.  IRS states that my 73 year old mother in law owes in 2006 ,1395.00 including penalties.  I don’t know why and it cost to much to find out.  She makes 282.00 net a week. Rent is 500 with her handicapped, unemployed husband. 450 for food and bus transportation. No assets whatsoever only liabilities. Two adult children with learning disabilities in the Phillipines that she sends for whatever is left.  She been working almost ten years 39 hours a week one hour less by her company. She works odd schedules. She is trying to cope with this conditions because nodody else will. My question is can I get the IRS to lower her  penalty to half and I will help her pay it off in three payments? How much can IRS garnish her paycheck. Please help. Thank you

  12. my ex was on the contract also. Can they only garnish my wages for the full amount? Thank You Joann

  13. I have a question. I recently started to have my check garnished. It was from a hospital visit and I did have and still do have insurance. The hospital took my insurance card and set it up as a self pay. I assume that no one would know why, anyway they used my old address from 5 years ago for billing. I never received a bill or notification. The bill was for 3,800 with their attorney fees. I have our office manager call the hospital and insurance company, The hospital stated they would stop the collection until the bill was paid for by my insurance. We then called the collection agency and they have a hold on the bill but stated my new bill is still 3,800 and they will not give me info on what the charges are. What can I do? I did call for their attorney and he will not reply.

  14. Does my employeer have to notify me of a garnishment, if they dont what rights do I have. I never found out I Was being garnished untill payday.


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  16. i sued my roommate for defacing and stealing over 3000 worth of belongings. Now she’s been served aswell as her job, but no money has been paid. She is still employed there but what is the next step? PLEASE HELP!

  17. My husband has his child support taken out of his check.  Oklahoma law says they can take %50, so they are taking 49 1/2 %.  Recently he was sued and they are garnishing hsi check for that.  Between both cases they are taking 75% of his wages.  Can they really do that?

  18. If you have a job and you are currently have garnishments, then you loose your job and collect unemployment.  Does garnishments then come out of unemployment checks?

  19. My wages are currently garnished, I have to have surgery in October, is my disabilty check going to be garnished? I’ll be off work for 6-10 weeks.

  20. I am curious how an employee is supposed to be notified of a wage garnishment?   A garnishment notic was email to my husband’s email and it went to spam because it wasn’t from his work address nor the payroll companies address.

    The state says two papers are sent to the employer to give to the employee which the payroll company scanned and emailed.

    Does the employer or in this case the payrollcompany have to provide the paper notices vs emaiing them?  We had no idea there was a garnishment until the money was gone. AFter 8 hrs of research this garnishment should have never been issued and was reversed, but in the mean time we’re out the $200+  because of the notice being emailed and not given to myhusband.

  21. I live in Nebraska and my last paycheck was garnished for something that I am completely unaware of.  What are the laws regarding notification of garnishment?  I had the understanding that you must receive a certified letter before your wages could be garnished, and I never received one.   Can a company garnish wages without your knowledge?

  22. How do i put a wage garnishment on my daughter inlaw who has not payed a dime on her car payment to me. She owes  5000. on the car and about 350.00 on the insurance and the phone. 

    Thanks for your help


     Please reply to my e-mail

  23. I was wanting to know if it’s true if you dont make over 200 dollars a week then they can’t garnish your wages?

  24. I have a default judgment against me and I called the company to make arrangements to start making payments and she told me no that there was a garnishment also filed. I was never notified of this and it has not come out of my paycheck and this took place in December what do I do now

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