Wage Garnishment? What Employees Facing This Action Should Know

5 April 2019
 Categories: Law, Blog

For individuals and families who are already living paycheck to paycheck, the ongoing loss of a portion of their wages to garnishment is sure to be a devastating financial blow.

Garnishment is defined as a court order that directs wages (or other types of assets, such as bank accounts or property) to be seized for the express purpose of satisfying an outstanding debt. In addition to consumer debt, income and other types of taxes, child support, and student loans can also result in wage garnishment. If you or your spouse or partner are facing wage garnishment, this information can answer some of your most pressing questions and offer possible options for handling this problem. 

Can Employees Be Fired for Wage Garnishment? 

One of the first questions employees often have when facing a wage garnishment is whether their job is safe or whether their employer might let them go to avoid the extra work of complying with a wage garnishment. Unfortunately, while federal garnishment laws do offer protection against being discharged for a single debt, employers are not restricted from discharging an employee who is having their wages garnished due to multiple debts. 

Can a Garnishment Be Stopped or Postponed? 

While the existence of a wage garnishment order means that the court has already given their approval to proceed, employees still have a few options for stopping or postponing the process. One of these is to contact the creditor directly and attempt to negotiate a payment schedule that will be workable for both parties. While this option does not always work, many creditors would prefer to have a congenial relationship with a debtor who is serious about meeting their repayment responsibilities. 

Another possible option to stop or postpone a garnishment is if your family is undergoing some type of undue stress or hardship, such as a serious medical health issue, divorce, or a death in the immediate family. Employees who want to pursue this option will need to provide proof of the hardship, as well as current financial data when applying for the hardship exemption. 

Lastly, and often the most fitting option for stopping a wage garnishment order, is to file for personal bankruptcy protection. For families who are under serious financial pressure, filing for bankruptcy protection can allow them to avoid a wage garnishment that would impact their net pay amount while also offering their family a chance for a new financial start. 

If you are facing wage garnishment, you should know that state laws in how they are handled can vary. Discussing your situation with a garnishment attorney in your area will help you understand the laws and how you can make the best of this difficult financial situation. Contact a team like Stuart J Sinsheimer Attorney at Law to learn more today.