What is Wage Garnishment? How to Stop & FAQs
Posted on January 1st, 2022 to Barbaruolo Blog
A wage garnishment, also known as an income execution, is a legal way for a creditor to collect money from a debtor’s paycheck.
After a creditor wins a money judgment against a debtor, they can send an income execution order to the debtor’s employer. The employer is then legally obligated to deduct a certain amount of money from the debtor’s paycheck, usually around 10% of their gross earnings per paycheck, depending on the debtor’s income. However, it’s important to note that certain types of income, such as unemployment benefits, pensions, domestic support, and social security, are protected from wage garnishment.
Table of Contents
- How Wage Garnishment Works
- How to Stop Wage Garnishment
- Garnishment Timeline After Judgment
- Can You Negotiate a Garnishment
- What Happens After Paying a Garnishment
- Negotiating a Wage Garnishment
- After Wage Garnishment is Paid
- Who Can Garnish Wages?
How Wage Garnishment Works
The mechanics of a wage garnishment are determined by state laws. Once a creditor obtains a money judgment against a debtor, they will submit the judgment to the local Sheriff. The Sheriff will then notify the debtor’s employer to garnish the wages per the judgment. The debtor can avoid the garnishment by paying the Sheriff directly.
How to Stop Wage Garnishment
Can wage garnishments be stopped at all? If you’re facing wage garnishment, it’s important to take action as soon as possible. One option is to negotiate with the creditor to come up with a payment plan or settlement agreement. However, once a wage garnishment is in effect, the most effective way to stop it is through bankruptcy.
How Long Does it Take to Garnish Wages After Judgment?
In New York, once a creditor obtains a money judgment, they can seek to garnish wages. The creditor sends the income execution request to the local Sheriff, who then notifies the judgment debtor of the intent to garnish. If the debtor does not contact the Sheriff to make direct payment arrangements within 20 days, the Sheriff may then levy against the debtor’s wages.
Can You Negotiate a Wage Garnishment?
While it is possible to try to negotiate with the creditor, once they have submitted the wage garnishment to the Sheriff, they know that they will start receiving regular payments, and it can be difficult to negotiate with them.
What Happens After a Wage Garnishment is paid?
When the debt is fully paid, the garnishment should stop, and the creditor should file a satisfaction of judgment with the County Clerk’s office. Unfortunately, most creditors fail to take that step.
Who Can Garnish Wages?
Creditors who obtains a money judgement can garnish wages. Here are a few of the most common:
- Credit card companies (credit card bills)
- Medical creditors (medical bills)
- Landlords (rent)
- IRS (taxes)
It’s also important to note that not all types of income are subject to wage garnishment. Unemployment benefits, pensions, domestic support, and social security are typically exempt from wage garnishment. However, it’s important to check with your state laws to understand what types of income are protected.