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How Can I Stop a Wage Garnishment?

A wage garnishment is shocking because it always comes without notice. If your wages have been garnished, this means that you have a judgment against you. A wage garnishment is a legal tool that creditors use to try to get your money.  And, it makes your employer the debt collector a portion of your paycheck. The Consumer Protection Credit Act restricts the amount of earnings that can be garnished to 25% of disposable weekly income after mandatory deductions for taxes or the amount by which disposable earnings are greater than 30 times the minimum wage.   In Florida, the minimum wage for January of 2023 is The minimum wage is adjusted annually based on a set formula. The Florida minimum wage is $11.00 per hour and is scheduled to increase to $12.00 on September 30, 2023.

My Wages Have Been Garnished

Settle the debt

You may be able to work out a favorable deal with the creditor to settle your debt. Settling the debt stops the wage garnishments will stop. Usually the creditor will demand payment of a lump sum to pay off a portion of the debt.

Claim Head of Family wage exemption.

A consumer/debtor can prevent their wages from being garnished by claiming the “head of family wage exemption”” if they provide more than one-half of the support for a dependent. A spouse, children, or other close family members that the consumer cares for qualify as dependents.

Only “wages” or “salary” paid to an employee for labor or services can be claimed as exempt. So, if the consumer/debtor is self-employed or owns a business and controls how much money they are paid, the “head of family” exemption cannot be claimed.

File for Bankruptcy

The fastest way to stop your wage garnishment is by filing for bankruptcy. If you file for bankruptcy, your wage garnishment must IMMEDIATELY stop due to the bankruptcy “automatic stay”. The automatic stay is a legal protection that stops almost all collection activity against you the moment that you file your bankruptcy case. As soon as your bankruptcy case is filed, a diligent bankruptcy lawyer will notify your debt collector that you are protected by the bankruptcy automatic stay and demand that your wage garnishments must immediately stop. The debt collector will also receive notice of your bankruptcy from the court.

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