WAGE GARNISHMENT IN ARIZONA
A wage garnishment is an order from a government agency or a court that requires your employer to withhold a certain amount of money from your paycheck. The order is sent to your employer, they garnish your wages, and the money is sent to the creditor to whom you owe debt.
Arizona law sets legal limits on how much of your paycheck can be garnished. These laws offer protection for your wages; creditors can only take nonexempt wages and they are limited to how much they can take. The experienced Arizona bankruptcy law attorneys at [cryout-button-dark url=”#”]My AZ Lawyers[/cryout-button-dark] can give your more information about what types of creditors can take more than others, and to tell you how to stop a wage garnishment.
MY AZ LAWYERS WILL PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS IF YOU HAVE BEEN SUED AND ARE FACING A WAGE GARNISHMENT
To get a judgement, a creditor must sue you, then serve you with a copy of the lawsuit, which a judge signing off on exactly how much you owe. Also, the creditor must file an application for a Writ of Garnishment. Once the court grants this, they will provide a copy to your employer who then is required to start withholding a given amount from your check.
You do have the opportunity and right to object the order, and to ask the court to lower the amount taken out.
Creditors cannot garnish your wages unless they obtain a court judgement sating that you owe them money. There are exceptions to this, however: no judgement is needed for:
- unpaid income taxes
- defaulted student loans
- child support arrears
- court ordered child support
WAGE GARNISHMENT LIMITATIONS IN ARIZONA
The idea behind limiting the amount that can be taken from your paycheck in order to pay back creditors is that you should have enough left for living expenses. There is a limit placed on this by Federal law. Arizona follows the same rules as Federal law, so federal law governs in Arizona:
Creditors can only take the lesser of the following: 25% of your weekly earnings (non-exempt)
OR the amount of non-exempt weekly earnings that exceeds 30 times the federal minimum wage.
Wages left after you employer makes deductions required by law are “disposable earnings.” Call My AZ Lawyers for a [cryout-button-dark url=”#”]FREE CONSULTATION[/cryout-button-dark] and discuss which income is exempt, specifically in Arizona.
EXAMPLE WAGE GARNISHMENTS
Ernie owes money to a creditor, except Ernie’s only income is what he gets from Social Security Disability. Even if the lender has a court order / judgement against Ernie, the credit may not garnish this type of earnings because these earnings are exempt.
Another example of wage garnishment: Sally has a judgement against her for debt owed to a creditor. Sally has a job and makes $750 / week (after taxes) and receives $250 per week in child support from her ex. The creditor cannot take from the child support income, but may garnish 25% of the $750 ($187.50). 30 times the minimum wage ($217.50) is $532.50 less than what she earns per week. Remember, it is $one OR $another, $187.50 is less than $532.50, the creditor may only garnish $187.50 from Sally’s paycheck.
WAGE GARNISHMENTS WITHOUT NEEDING A COURT ORDER
The following debts do not require a court judgement for either the government or a creditor to garnish your wages (the amount deducted can vary as well):
- Child support
- Student loans
- Unpaid taxes
STOPPING WAGE GARNISHMENTS
If you receive a notice of a wage garnishment from your employer, you need to contact My AZ Lawyers immediately. You can do immediate damage control by discussing your matter with an experienced bankruptcy attorney.
It is not only a frustrating and embarrassing situation to have your HR department and your boss know about your financial difficulties, but you will also lose out on your wages. If excessive debt has come to the point of a court order wage garnishment, [cryout-button-dark url=”#”]filing for bankruptcy[/cryout-button-dark] can stop this.
As soon as a bankruptcy case is fi led, an Automatic Stay is issued. This is an order that stops all collections from you: wage garnishments, demand letters, phone calls, and lawsuits. In this way, bankruptcy can help provide you with a fresh start by helping you to become debt free.
Schedule an appointment to talk to an attorney at My AZ Lawyers if you are sued and are in jeopardy of a wage garnishment.