If you’re under financial stress and have outstanding debt, the thought of losing a portion of your paycheck may seem unbearable.
What is wage garnishment?
Wage garnishment is when a court orders your employer to retain a specific amount of your paycheck to satisfy a debt.
Keep reading to learn more about the wage garnishment definition and what legal protections are available to prevent further financial hardship.
We’re here to answer your questions and help guide you.
What Is Wage Garnishment?
Wage garnishment is a legal procedure where a portion of a person’s earnings is withheld by their employer, as per court order, to pay off an outstanding financial obligation.
Some examples of debts that give rise to wage garnishment are unpaid taxes, student loans, medical bills, child support, credit card debt, or outstanding court fees.
Wage garnishment lasts until you resolve your debt unless you take other steps, such as filing for bankruptcy.
Keep in mind that not all income is subject to garnishment by creditors. Social Security, IRA’s, and 401(k)s are all protected types of income.
How Does Wage Garnishment Work?
Wage garnishment doesn’t happen overnight.
The creditor or agency collecting the debt will take other steps before the money is withheld from your paycheck.
But if a creditor is unable to collect payment from you through other means, they will likely sue you to get a court judgment so that garnishment can begin.
Your employer receives a “writ of garnishment” from the court and must then regularly calculate and withhold the garnishment amount.
Once that money is taken out, your employer must send it to the creditor or agency.
How to Stop Wage Garnishment
There are different options to stop wage garnishment depending on the type of debt and your current financial situation.
Filing for bankruptcy is one way to stop wage garnishment. Creditors cannot get a judgment against you if you successfully filed for bankruptcy.
Unfortunately, not all debts are dischargeable by bankruptcy, such as unpaid child support and back taxes.
However, when you work with one of our experienced bankruptcy attorneys, we can propose a repayment plan that is manageable for you.
Let Our Bankruptcy Attorneys Help Create a Better Financial Future
Having money taken out of your paycheck can be incredibly detrimental, especially if you have limited financial resources.
With over 80 years of combined experience, the bankruptcy attorneys at Blake Goodman, PC, Attorney, are here for you.
We have helped more than 8,000 clients and are the largest bankruptcy filer in Hawaii.
We know that every situation is different, so we take the time to understand your case and develop a unique strategy that meets your needs.
At Blake Goodman, PC, Attorney, we also offer a flat, fixed fee for a majority of our clients, so you won’t have to worry about your ability to afford exceptional legal service.
It’s payday, money’s looking tight, and you are looking forward to getting your paycheck.
If one of your creditors has a judgment against you for the money you owe and has used that judgment to garnish your wages, you could be in for a shock.
Garnishment in Hawaii obligates your employer to withhold a percentage of your pay and send it to your creditor. This continues each pay period until the debt is paid.
Although the law limits the percentage a creditor can garnish of your wages, that doesn’t help if you are just managing to balance your bills with your income.
Even a small loss of income can make a difference and create a snowball effect that results in your getting deeper into financial trouble.
You could fall behind on your mortgage or car payment, risking foreclosure or repossession.
If this is happening to you, then you should seek advice from our experienced wage garnishment attorneys at Blake Goodman, PC, Attorney for how to deal with this issue.
Please contact our firm today to discuss all of your options under the law.
What Is Wage Garnishment?
A wage garnishment is a legal procedure where a portion of a person’s earnings is required to be withheld by an employer for the payment of a debt.
In general, a creditor in Hawaii may garnish up to 25% of the disposable earnings.
With so many households living paycheck to paycheck, just barely keeping their heads above water. When a creditor begins taking money directly out of that paycheck, it becomes difficult to keep everything afloat.
Can Bankruptcy Stop Wage Garnishment?
Did you know that filing for bankruptcy in Hawaii can stop garnishment? When you file for bankruptcy in Hawaii, an automatic stay goes into effect the minute your plan is filed.
From that moment on, during the pendency of your case, creditors are prevented from attempting to collect money from you.
They can’t call you, they can’t file lawsuits against you, they can’t use a judgment awarded in court to garnish your wages, and they can’t continue to garnish your wages if they have already started.
Income Protected from Garnishment
Certain types of income are protected from garnishment by creditors.
These include Social Security, IRA’s, and 401(k)s. Additionally, garnishments for certain types of debts are issued automatically.
For example, all child support orders include an automatic wage withholding order.
If you owe back taxes, then the IRS or State can garnish your wages without court permission.
We Help Clients Throughout Hawaii Fight Wage Garnishment
If you are facing a garnishment you should seek an experienced attorney at Blake Goodman, PC, Attorney.
Filing for bankruptcy stops creditors from obtaining judgments and can void a judgment if one is already in place.
For those debts that are not dischargeable in bankruptcy, such as child support arrears and back taxes, filing can also help by proposing a repayment plan that will spread out the payments in a more manageable way.
Contact a Wage Garnishment Lawyer in Hawaii Today
Bankruptcy can be difficult to navigate, but our bankruptcy attorneys are ready to help guide you.