Wage garnishment is one way of collecting a debt from an individual. Below, a garnishment attorney at the Backus Law Group, in Montgomery, Alabama, explains how wage garnishment works and how debtors can avoid it.
Like federal regulations, Alabama’s wage garnishment law allows judgment creditors to take up to 25% of an individual’s disposable earnings per paycheck, in most instances. The 25% limit is meant to allow debtors enough money to live on. For consumer debts in Alabama, creditors cannot garnish an amount higher than 30 times the minimum wage or 25% of their disposable income—whichever is less. Non-consumer debts have a 25% cap. A disposable earning is what’s left after the employer makes legally required deductions.
Generally, a creditor must sue a debtor and obtain a judgment before placing a garnishment. However, the law allows wage garnishment without a judgment if a debtor owes income taxes, court-ordered child support and arrearages, or defaulted student loans. Garnishment percentages for child support can be up to 60%, plus 5% for amounts owed for more than 12 weeks. Federal student loans are capped at either 15% or 30 times the minimum wage.
Wage garnishment orders direct employers to make deductions, which may give them more paperwork. However, they cannot fire or refuse to hire someone who is under a wage garnishment. Seeking bankruptcy protection stops garnishment and eliminates consumer debt. Under certain conditions, student loans can be discharged in bankruptcy.
At Backus Law Group, bankruptcy lawyers and garnishment attorneys give personal attention to clients to help them resolve their debt. Clients receive a full explanation of their available options and counsel for their particular circumstances.
When you face financial distress, seek help from the Backus Law Group in Montgomery and Clanton, Alabama. Call (334) 265-0800 to schedule an appointment with a bankruptcy or garnishment attorney in Montgomery; call (205) 755-5208 to reach a lawyer in Clanton. You can also visit the law firm online for more information on garnishment and bankruptcy protection.