What Is Wage Garnishment And Can You Fight It?

Posted on: 30 November 2015

A garnishment is a process of legally withholding earnings from a person to repay a debt. Funds are usually held by the employer from a court order such as an IRS debt. If you do not make a court appearance over the debt, a garnishment is usually processed. No creditor can hold more than 60% of the wages. South Carolina, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Texas don't allow wage garnishments from creditors such as credit card businesses.

Maximum Limits

The largest amount taken from the check will be the lowest of the following situations as it is applied to your specific case:

  • Any money higher than federal minimum wage times thirty
  • Up to 25% of the deemed disposable income; (No garnishment if disposable income is under $290)


First, you must find the reason for the garnishment, and ask for proof of the debt from the creditor or collection agency. The creditor, at this point, has a judgment against you. A demand letter must be sent by them, and by no means should it be ignored. Voluntary payments are acceptable versus the time and cost of pursuing a wage garnishment in court. Try to negotiate with the creditor.

Each state varies about additional protection against garnishment. For example, a court could appoint a trustee for the payments to be sent to, instead of a garnishment. If economic hardship can be proven, the amount could be reduced or eliminated. The hardship would indicate the money is essential to support your family. Contact an attorney or the clerk of the county or town in your state.

You must respond to court/legal summons, or it could mean you will definitely have wages garnished. You can settle the debt without the court for much less. You may also get debt counseling through a consumer credit counseling service (CCS). The CCS is a non-profit agency and can be a negotiator with the creditors to facilitate payments over specific amounts of time. If payments are made on time, there will not be a garnishment.

Even when garnishment is in progress, continue working with the creditor; your circumstances may have changed. If you can use tax refunds to make a lump-sum payment, the creditor may cancel the wage garnishment.

Wage garnishment is not a process to be taken lightly. Under no circumstances should court orders be ignored. The creditor wants the money owed as much as you want your paycheck. By abiding by the information outlined here, you should be able to eliminate the embarrassment caused by this process. For more information, contact an attorney like Attorney Joseph Aguglia.