Government agencies and judgment creditors can require employers to garnish their employees’ wages to collect unpaid debts. Depending on how much debt you’ve acquired, this can create a stressful financial situation. It’s critical to understand the different types of wage garnishment and the laws in place to protect you and your financial future.
What is a Wage Garnishment?
When you have unpaid debts, the court can issue an order to your employer, requiring them to withhold a portion of your paycheck. These wages get sent to your creditor to cover your unpaid debts or financial responsibilities. Different rules apply depending on the type of debt you have. There are also legal limits on how much of your paycheck can be garnished.
Types of Garnishments
There are four major types of a wage garnishment, three of which can be garnished without a court judgment.
By law, all child support orders include an automatic wage withholding order. Up to 50% of your paycheck can be garnished to cover your child support obligations.
If you default on your student loans, you might be subject to an administrative garnishment. This grants the U.S. Department of Education or any collecting entity to garnish your wages without a court judgment. In this case, they can garnish up to 15% of your wages but no more than 30 times the minimum wage.
If you don’t file your tax return or incorrectly report income, you can face a wage garnishment of up to 15% of your disposable income until you repay the debt you owe. However, the amount can differ depending on how many dependents you have and your standard tax deduction.
State tax agencies can also collect any unpaid debt by garnishing your wages.
Credit Cards and Other Debts:
Once the court issues a judgment against you, your creditor can garnish your wages for credit card debt, medical bills, personal loans, or other unpaid debts.
Wage Garnishment Laws in Tennessee
In Tennessee, the amount of garnished wages is limited to 25% of your weekly disposable earnings or the amount your weekly disposable earnings exceed 30 times the federal minimum hourly wage. You are eligible to protect an additional $2.50 for each dependent child you support who is under the age of 16. The child must also live in Tennessee, and you’re required to provide your employer with information about your dependent child in order to claim this additional exemption.
Middle Tennessee Top Bankruptcy Attorneys
Navigating the bankruptcy process can be daunting. Enlisting the help of a trusted attorney to understand the different types and reasons for wage garnishment will ensure a smoother process and protect your financial future.
Flexer Law has been serving the legal needs of Middle Tennessee residents since 1981. Our experienced bankruptcy attorneys will work diligently on your behalf to provide the best financial outcome for you.
We have three office locations throughout Middle Tennessee to accommodate your legal needs. Contact us to schedule a consultation, and we’ll find the best solution to get your financial life back on track.
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