There are limits to how much of your earnings creditors can take under Georgia law. Wage garnishment is limited to 25% of your disposable earnings; or your disposable earnings less 30 times the current federal minimum wage. There are also actions you may take under certain circumstances to stop or reduce wage garnishment.
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A wage garnishment involves a court order or an order from a government agency, compelling your employer to reserve a defined amount of money from your wages to pay back a creditor.
If you become delinquent in payments to a creditor, that creditor may file a collection lawsuit. If the creditor wins, the judgment may lead to a wage garnishment. Certain creditors can take money from your wages without a court ordered wage garnishment. A statutory wage garnishment is a right created in statutory law, which can include debts owed to governmental agencies or for child support.
Stopping a Wage Garnishment
While there are mechanisms that can stop a wage garnishment, whether they will work for you will depend on your financial circumstances and the type of debt involved. The following are examples of actions you may take in order to have a wage garnishment reduced or removed completely:
Creditor Negotiation– Just because a creditor has pursued a wage garnishment, it doesn’t mean negotiation is off the table. You can contact the creditor at any time to discuss a better way of repaying what you owe, including making lump-sum payments if you earn additional income from other sources other than your regular wage.
File an Objection— When you receive wage garnishment paperwork, instructions on how to file an objection to the garnishment are included, which you should review carefully. However, you have a short time to file an objection and typically there are very limited grounds for an objection. Many people make the mistake of not fighting the original lawsuit in which the judgement was entered. If you have arguments that you do not owe the debt, you need to make those arguments during the original lawsuit.
File for Bankruptcy– There are a number of Chapters of bankruptcy that may work for you. Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 are the types of bankruptcies typically applied to individuals. Chapter 11 typically is for the reorganization of business debts, although individuals with consumer or business debts may also file a Chapter 11, and Chapter 12 is specifically for family farmers and family fishermen. If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, speak to a bankruptcy lawyer in Georgia that has experience with wage garnishment.
Call the offices of H. Lehman Franklin P.C. if you have received a wage garnishment order from the court. We have the skills and expertise to guide you through the bankruptcy process. You can reach our bankruptcy attorneys at 912-764-9616 to further discuss your financial circumstances with a caring and understanding member of our team.