What is the most your wages can be garnished if you have an existing judgement against you already?

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What is the most your wages can be garnished if you have an existing judgement against you already?

I have a couple of judgements against me. I already pay $500 a month that comes out of my check for child support. I have $200 a month judgemnt for 3 years still active for a civil case. Now my ex is saying she is planing on sueing me for thousands of dollars in unpaid medical bills and another $1000 for child care costs that the government program didn’t cover. I know she didn’t pay her half for those bills either. She claims they will give all the money to her instead of directly to the bill collectors. My real question is how much more can they legally take from my check? My take home pay bi-weekly is $500-$600, and thats before i pay the $200 judgement. Im barely getting by as it is. I don’t make enough to pay those debts and all my other bills, oh and the $125 a week in daycare costs. How much more can they legally take? What are the limits?

Asked on July 29, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The most your wage could be garnished for most debts (see below for exceptions) is 15% of your "disposable" income, which is basically income after FICA withholding. Say your weekly disposable income is $700 after FICA, but before other withholding (e.g. for income tax; for health care; for a 401k or pension; etc.). You could have up to $700 x 0.15 = $105 total deducted per week through garnishment. Note, however, that if you are paying other judgments, that does NOT count against the maximum that can be garnished--only other garnishments count. The total of all garnishment must be 15% or less, except as below.

There is a significant exception to the above: tax debts (e.g. to IRS) or child support can result in significantly higher levels of garnishment--as high as 50%, I believe.


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