What is Wage Garnishment?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Aug 8, 2013

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A wage garnishment is a legal process whereby the court orders your employer to withhold a portion of your earnings each pay period to pay off a debt. The law sets forth the maximum amounts that can be garnished, designate specific procedures concerning child support and alimony payments, and stipulate that it is illegal to fire an employee who requires wage garnishment. Why might you qualify for wage garnishment? Failure to pay federal fines or taxes, child support, and other obligations might make you eligible.

Wage garnishment should be a last resort and occur only after you have exhausted all of your legal options. This is due to the widespread consequences involved with the process. Not only can it affect your credit record and ability to do things like take out a home loan or open a bank account, but it can affect your peace of mind, reputation and earning capacity. Personal loans are one option for evading wage garnishment. Others include aggressive negotiations with your creditors in order to stall or sidestep garnishment altogether. If you are having credit problems, seek the advice of an experienced credit counselor right away to go over all of your options. Doing so will help you stave off wage garnishment.

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