How many people can take money out of your paychecks at one time?

I have a lot of money getting taken out of my paychecks for child support and I am also getting a lot of money taken out for a law suit that was no my fault. Is it legal for two companies to be taking that much money out at one time? After everything I dont even have enough money to pay my regular bills.

Asked on June 26, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, California


Cameron Norris, Esq. / Law Office of Gary W. Norris

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

I am a little confused by the wording "law suit that was not my fault."  A court must have found that you were at fault in order to be authorizing a wage garnishment--even if you werent really at fault.

There is no limit to the total number of people that can take wage garnishments.  There is a limit on the amount of money that can be taken out at one time.  In addition if you have spousal support arrears, a write of execution may be authorized to seize assets, including bank accounts.  California follows Federal law when it comes to limits on the amount that can be garnished from paychecks:

Under Federal law, the lesser of the following may be garnished:

  • The amount by which a debtor’s weekly income is greater than 30 times the minimum wage. The current minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, making the 30 hour weekly total $217.50. This leaves the debtor with something to live on, though it clearly can be less than is needed to meet minimum obligations.
  • 25% of disposable income. Disposable income is defined as the income that is left after all legally required deductions are taken from a person’s paycheck. This include Federal and State Taxes, FICA, State Unemployment and Disability Taxes , with “disposable income” defined as income left after legally required deductions from a person’s paycheck, such as FICA. Other obligations, such as voluntary contributions to retirement accounts, deductions for medical, dental or vision insurance, or contribution to a Medical Savings Account are not exempt and will be considered part of the disposable income.

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