What is Wage Garnishment?
A wage garnishment (also known as a “wage attachment or “wage execution”) is a form of legal process available to a judgment creditor which is sent to your employer. This order requires your employer to set aside part of your wages from your paycheck and send it directly to the creditor.
Some states, including New Jersey, provide employees greater protection with respect to wage garnishment. This unique protection changes the “25-30 Rule” from Federal law to a “10-25 Rule.”
This “10-25 Rule” states that a creditor cannot take more than 10% (rather than 25%) of an employee’s income if that employee earns under 250% of the federal poverty level. Also, this New Jersey law allows for creditors to take up to 25% of “disposable earnings” from an employee, but only if that employee earns more than 250% of the federal poverty level.
You can find the federal poverty levels at the Department of Health and Human Services website.
Court Judgments and Exceptions
In most cases, a court judgment is required for a wage garnishment stating that a creditor is owed money. If you owe money to credit card companies, utility companies, medical providers, etc. they must first obtain a judgment in court to be able to legally garnish your wages.
Some exceptions to this rule apply. In New Jersey, your wages from your paycheck can be garnished without a court judgment for the following reasons:
- Unpaid income taxes
- Court-ordered child support
- Child support arrears, and
- Defaulted student loans.
- Wage Garnishment and Bankruptcy Law
- Threat to Terminate Employment
A wage garnishment puts an extra administrative burden on your employer, as percentages from your salary must be calculated, separated, and then sent to your creditor from your paycheck each payroll period. Threatening to terminate you because of a wage garnishment is illegal. If your employer has made a threat to terminate your employment because of this additional administrative burden caused due to your wage garnishment, you should contact Silverberg Law Firm immediately.
Our bankruptcy lawyer helps individuals prepare for bankruptcy. We analyze your financial situation, explain various debt relief options, discuss the pros and cons of bankruptcy relief, prepare and file your bankruptcy forms, and provide support during every step of the bankruptcy process.
A bankruptcy lawyer can help guide you through the maze of options that may be available to help address your debt issues and help you take the best path to a fresh start. You may not realize that there may be multiple approaches available and that only a skilled bankruptcy attorney can help you make the right decisions to minimize the hardships you are facing.
One of the first determinations that needs to be made is whether a formal bankruptcy filing is desirable. In some circumstances, it is best to wait, or to endeavor to deal with creditors outside of bankruptcy. If a bankruptcy is determined to be desirable, your bankruptcy attorney should then inform you which types of bankruptcy are available to you and should guide you to the type that best suits your circumstances.
There are three types of bankruptcy that could be available in an individual case: Chapter 7, Chapter 11 and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 have prerequisites that not every debtor will be able to satisfy. For example, because of the “means test” (described further here), debtors may be disqualified from Chapter 7, and debtors whose debt exceeds certain debt limits may not qualify for Chapter 13.
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When you are searching for an attorney, it is important that you find someone who understands your goals and your business. You need an attorney who will pay personal attention to your situation. You need someone smart, tough, and someone will give you a clear picture of your situation at every juncture so you can make decisions. At Silverberg Law Firm LLC we understand your situation. We provide legal advice, support, and guidance when you need it most.