Wage Garnishment Explained

Wage garnishment is something that no one wants to deal with as it results in a smaller paycheck. Wage garnishment is a way that creditors can retrieve the money that they are owed by debtors. With wage garnishment, the money that they are owed is deducted directly from their paycheck before they even receive it. In this way, they can be sure that they get the money that is owed them. If you are facing wage garnishment, here is the process that you should expect.

Accumulate Debt

The first part of the process is when you accumulate debt with a qualified source. Not everyone can garnish your wages. They have to fall into one of a few classes of debts before they can get money directly out of your paycheck. Some examples of organizations that can garnish your paycheck are the government, credit cards, and child support collectors. If the debt falls into one of those categories, you are at risk of eventually having your wages garnished.


Although the creditor may fall into the proper category to garnish your wages, they still have to go through a process to get it done. They can't simply decide that they want to garnish your wages and go ahead and do so. They have to file a lawsuit against you for the debt and secure a judgment against you. The judge has to rule in their favor in order for a garnishment to take place.

Once they receive a judgment, they then have to file the proper paperwork with the court. The paperwork lets the court know that the entity would like to garnish your paycheck and requests a certain percentage of your paycheck until the debt is repaid. Each state will have separate laws about how much money can be garnished out of your paycheck. For example, the state might say that they can only garnish up to 20% of your paycheck after taxes are taken out.

After the garnishment amount is approved by the court, the court clerk will then send the necessary information to the person's employer. The paperwork will have the necessary information on it to get the money to where it needs to go from the employer.


Each pay period, the proper amount will be deducted out of the paycheck of the debtor. It is up to the employer to make sure that the right amount is taken out of the check each pay period. The employer will make the necessary payment to the court out of every check. The court will usually take the payments made and hold the money for a month at a time.

Once they have collected the necessary amount of money each month, they will then forward that payment on to the creditor. They will do this for as long as it takes to repay the debt. Even after the debt is paid and clear, the charge will stay on the credit report of the debtor for up to 10 years.


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