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What Income Can Be Legally Garnished in Georgia?

There are limits on how much a creditor can take from your wages as part of a garnishment. The laws surrounding wage garnishment in Georgia are regulated by federal and state statutes. If a creditor has a money judgment, they may take up to 25% of disposable income. 

When a court or government agency issues an order for wage garnishment, your employer will withhold a specified percentage of money from wages. This money is used to repay a creditor that has asked for the garnishment. The rules that apply to a wage garnishment are dependent on the type of debt involved. 

Wage garnishment is an option that is often used by creditors. A credit card company might not pursue a judgment after a single missed payment. However, if a delinquency continues, such creditors may file a collection lawsuit in an attempt to win a money judgment that will result in a wage garnishment. 

Statutory Wage Garnishment

There are exceptions where certain types of creditor do not need to seek a court order. A government agency such as the IRS does not need a court order to have wages garnished. If child support is court ordered, the person owed the support can request a wage deduction for the support without further order of the court or judgment. Debts that fall under statutory wage garnishment rules may also include student loans, unpaid income tax, or alimony. 

Wage Garnishment Amounts

There are limits on how much a creditor can collect from a wage garnishment in accordance with federal law. You may lose up to 25% of your disposable earnings; or, the amount your income exceeds 30 times the current federal minimum wage per hour, whichever is less. These figures can change so it is important to check current rules for the state to ensure your wages are not being over-garnished. 

Disposable earnings are defined as the amount that is left over after your employer has deducted mandatory amounts for things such as taxes. You will not see a reduction in the amount of disposable earnings if you make voluntary payments for insurance policies. 

Your wages can still be garnished if you are currently supporting a spouse or child. Federal law allows for wage garnishment of up to 50% for a supported child, and up to 60% of disposable earnings for an unsupported child. You may also lose an added 5% to catch up on payments that are in arrears by over 12 weeks. The Department of Education is given the option of garnishing wages by up to 15% for unpaid student loans. While the government can garnish wages, the amount that is taken is calculated based on any dependents you have and your deduction rate. 

There are a number of ways to address wage garnishment, including filing for bankruptcy. If you are worried about how you are going to cope when your wages are garnished, reach out to the experts from H. Lehman Franklin P.C. We can offer legal advice and guidance based on your specific financial situation.

To speak to a representative from H. Lehman Franklin P.C., call 912-764-9616 or email at info@hlfranklin.com. We are your community-based debt and bankruptcy representatives in Georgia.