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What is Wage Garnishment?

Posted By Legal Team | December 10 2022 | Firm News

A creditor who has not been paid may seek a money judgment against their debtor. Once it is awarded, the creditor can ask that the court garnish that person’s wages. Going forward, a percentage of their paycheck is given to the creditor until the debt is paid. The person’s employer is required to comply.

Wage Garnishment Possibilities in Arizona

Many debts are resolved through garnishment in Arizona. Depending on the type of debt, the garnishment may come out at different rates. Some debts that can be garnered are as follows:

  • Credit card debts
  • Child support
  • Alimony
  • Student loans
  • Personal loans
  • Federal debts
  • Medical bills

If a bank levy is charged to an individual, they will take funds directly from their bank account rather than garnishing wages.

How Much Can be Taken When Wages are Garnished?

Most wage garnishment begins at around 25%. These usually include personal loans, credit card debt, medical bills, and consumer debt. Debts such as federal debt, taxes, and student debt are usually garnished at a lower rate of 15%.

The most notable rate of garnishment is reserved for domestic obligations. Child support and spousal maintenance are typically set at 60%. If the person whose wages are being garnished supports another family, the rate will usually be around 50%. If the responsible party falls behind in their payments by 12 weeks, the rate at which their wages are garnished usually increases by 5%.

Can More Than one Creditor Garnish Wages at the Same Time?

No more than a quarter of a person’s wages can be garnished at once unless child support or alimony is figured into the equation. Since 25% is the maximum amount, outside of family support, more than one creditor may garnish an individual’s wages at a time.

For instance, if a person has a student debt that is being garnished at 15%, this leaves 10% more of your wages that are available for another creditor to garnish. When one debt is reconciled, another creditor can take their place. So, they will form a queue to garnish your wages until all of your debts are paid.

Are Debtors Informed About Wage Garnishment?

Back taxes, spousal maintenance, child support, and student loans may not have to go through a formal judicial process to begin garnishment of wages. But, there will still be legal notification before the garnishment begins. However, there is not much time between the judge’s decision and the garnishing. Usually, it takes between 5 and 30 days.

Surprisingly High Balances Make it Hard to pay off Debts

Many are astonished when they see how much debt they are being made to repay. Sometimes, far more than the amount they borrowed. This is because the creditor can add legal fees and interest charges to the total amount of the judgment. The additional fees can increase the length of time the wages are garnished by a significant amount.

Can an Employee Lose Their Job Because of Wage Garnishment?

An employer cannot terminate an employee upon receiving notice that their wages will be garnished the first time. But, upon a second notice, the employer can use that as legal grounds to terminate their employment.

Contact the Law Offices of Karen A. Schoenau for Help

If you are facing wage garnishment, it can be an overwhelming situation. There are ways that a lawyer specializing in Arizona family law can help. At the Law Offices of Karen A. Schoenau, a family law attorney can walk you through your options at your free consultation. We are ready to provide straightforward legal advice, aggressive advocacy, and responsive legal service to your wage garnishing case. Contact us today.

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