Boca Raton Wage Garnishment Lawyer
You work hard for your wages, and you use what money you do have left over after paying for rent or mortgage, utilities, clothing, and food to pay off your debts, but sometimes, it is not enough. You may have received a pay cut, got fired from a job, had unexpected expenses arise, or just allowed your debt to get out of control. Whatever the case, your creditors do not care. The only thing they care about is obtaining whatever money is owed to them. Many lenders go about doing this by garnishing debtors’ wages. If you owe an outstanding amount of money to one or more creditors, and if you cannot keep up with your monthly payments, you are at risk of wage garnishment. A Boca Raton wage garnishment lawyer can help you fight wage garnishment and protect your rights to the money for which you worked hard. Contact Nowack & Olson today to learn more about wage protection and your rights as a consumer.
The Basics of Wage Garnishment
Most creditors use wage garnishment as a means for collecting past due debt for the simple fact that it is the easiest way to collect what is owed to them, as most people have a source of income. Under the Consumer Credit Protection Act, a consumer may have up to 25 percent of his or her wages garnished for debt collection purposes. “Wages,” in this sense, means gross pay less in taxes and mandatory deductions.
Typically, creditors pursue wage garnishment when a consumer has too few assets to cover the amount of debt owed, or when pursuing a foreclosure or repossession would be costlier than what would be recovered. When a creditor opts for wage garnishment, it serves a wage garnishment order to the debtor’s employer, and the employer is then responsible for withholding money from said debtor’s paycheck. The employer sends those withholdings directly to the creditor.
Limitations on Wage Garnishment
If you are at risk of wage garnishment, know that you do have rights and protections. The Consumer Credit Protection Act stipulates that no more than 25 percent of a person’s paycheck may be garnished for debt collection purposes. This means that if one creditor is already garnishing, say, 10 percent of your wages, a second creditor may only garnish up to 15 percent of your wages. If several creditors seek repayment via garnishment, that 25 percent is allotted on a first-come-first-serve basis.
Florida law offers its own protections. For instance, if your disposable income is less than 30 times federal minimum wage, your wages may not be garnished at all. Furthermore, if you are the head of household, and if your wages are less than $750 a week, your wages may not be garnished.
Protections Against Wage Garnishment
Of course, you can always use your exemptions to protect yourself against wage garnishment, but what if you do not qualify for any exemptions? If you do not qualify for exemptions but experience significant hardship because of the debt collection practice, you still have a couple different options. For one, you can file for bankruptcy, which will halt all debt collection attempts entirely. If bankruptcy is not an option, you can attempt to appeal to the courts via a Claim of Exemption. If you choose this route, you must fill out the form and prove that the garnishment is causing undue hardship.
Work With a Boca Raton Wage Garnishment Lawyer
Wage garnishment is a frustrating tactic that creditors use to collect outstanding debt, and it is oftentimes effective. That said, creditors do have limitations. If you believe that your wages are being garnished unfairly, or if garnishment is causing you financial strain, you do have options. Reach out to the Boca Raton wage garnishment attorneys at Nowack & Olson, PLLC, today to schedule a free consultation in which we discuss your options.