How to Stop Your New Job from Garnishing Your Wages
Starting a new job is an exciting adventure. The opportunity for better pay, a chance to gain new skills, and the possibility of networking with different people is a wonderful feeling. That’s until your wages are garnished at your new job, leaving you with less pay than you had planned to receive. With help from our West Palm Beach wage garnishment attorneys, you can prevent your new job from garnishing your wages before it happens.
What is Wage Garnishment?
Wage garnishment is the process where your employer has been ordered to send a portion of your earnings to a creditor. A court order is the document that gives your employer the right to garnish the wages. Your wages can be sent to pay unsettled debts for:
- Credit cards
- Federal student loans
- IRS and taxes
- Medical bills
- Personal loans
- Child support and alimony
Under Florida Statute 222.11, a creditor cannot garnish your wages if you’re the head of household and your wages are equal to or less than $750 a week. Even if your wages are greater than $750.00, only a certain amount of your wages may be garnished.
If you want to stop your new employer from taking your hard earned wages and sending them to a creditor, you should do the following:
Ways to Stop an Employer from Garnishing Wages
Below are some ways you can stop your new employer from garnishing your wages before payday:
- Settle the Debt
Depending on how much you owe and how many bills you’ve accumulated, settling the debt with your creditor is a way to prevent wage garnishment. You can negotiate a payment plan with the creditor by calling and/or sending a letter through the mail, or negotiate for a lower total lump sum payoff. For instance, if you owe $1,500, you can work with the creditor to settle the debt by paying 25% of the debt. Very often, creditors are open to a reasonable payment plan or lump sum payoff and are willing to work with you so they can recoup some of their money.
- Identify and claim exemptions.
As we mentioned in the above Florida law, if your wages are equal to or less than $750 a week, you are exempt from having your wages garnished. You must file an affidavit with the court to claim your exemption. An experienced West Palm Beach wage garnishment attorney can help you identify and claim your exception.
Keep in mind that the above exemption does not protect your tax refunds from garnishment. As tax refunds are not wages, they are not covered under the exemption statute provided above.
- File Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy is an option if your debt is unbearable. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is best if you do not have the income to repay creditors. With Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you can discharge all of your unsecured debts like credit cards and medical bills. Doing so will bring an end to wage garnishment activity.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy will also terminate wage garnishments but you will have to pay back a portion of the debt owed over 3 to 5 years.
Contact Our Experienced West Palm Beach Wage Garnishment Attorney for Help with Stopping Wage Garnishments.
If you’re facing wage garnishment, you must act swiftly to protect your income. An attorney that can both address the garnishment as well as consult about possible options such as bankruptcy is your best source of expertise. A West Palm Beach wage garnishment attorney at Kelley Fulton Kaplan & Eller can help and provide you that expertise. We’ll help you determine the option that’s best for you and your situation. Give us a call for a consultation at 561-264-6850.