Wage Garnishment

Sacramento Wage Garnishment Attorneys

Protecting Your Rights in Placer and El Dorado Counties

Understanding wage garnishment, and your rights under state and federal law, is critical if you are dealing with debt. The government has put in place a number of laws designed to protect you from creditors who are being overly aggressive and violating your rights. Our lawyers at Stutz Law Office, P.C. can help you navigate these challenging issues. Our debt relief services are designed to help you reduce or stop garnishments to help you get back on your feet and on the path to a brighter financial future.

If your wages are being garnished, contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation. We offer flexible payment plans to help you find relief.

How Does Wage Garnishment Work in California?

Wage garnishment is a legal procedure where a portion of a person's earnings is withheld by an employer for the payment of a debt as per the court order or the government agency's decision. This usually happens when a debtor has been unable to meet their financial obligations. When a creditor wins a judgment, they may choose to garnish wages to recover the money owed.

Common types of debts that can lead to wage garnishment include unpaid taxes, child support, student loans, and credit card debts.

In California, a creditor must first sue the debtor and win a money judgment. The creditor can then request a wage garnishment order from the court, which is served on the debtor's employer. The employer is then legally obligated to withhold a portion of the employee's earnings and send them directly to the creditor.

However, there are limits to how much can be garnished from your wages. Under federal law, the lesser of the following can be garnished:

  • 25% of your disposable earnings (earnings after mandatory deductions), or
  • The amount by which your weekly income exceeds 30 times the federal minimum wage.

California law further limits this amount, allowing only the lesser of:

  • 25% of your disposable earnings, or
  • The amount by which your weekly income exceeds 40 times the state minimum wage.

How Can Bankruptcy Help?

Filing for bankruptcy can provide immediate relief from wage garnishment. Once a bankruptcy case is filed, an automatic stay goes into effect, which stops most collection actions, including wage garnishments.

In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, many unsecured debts can be discharged entirely, eliminating the need for wage garnishment. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you can reorganize your debts and pay them over time, often at a reduced amount.

Federal and State Protections

Both federal and California law provide protections to individuals facing wage garnishment:

  • Exemptions: Certain types of income, such as Social Security benefits and unemployment compensation, are generally exempt from wage garnishment.
  • Anti-discrimination laws: Employers cannot fire, discipline, or refuse to hire someone because their wages are being garnished for a single debt.
  • Notification requirements: Creditors must notify you before they can begin wage garnishment proceedings.

If you're facing wage garnishment, it's essential to understand your rights and options. Our Sacramento wage garnishment lawyers at Stutz Law Office, P.C. are here to help. Contact us online today or call (916) 884-2235 for a complimentary consultation.

Commonly Asked Questions

Can my employer fire me for having my wages garnished in Sacramento?

No, under both federal and California law, employers are prohibited from firing, disciplining, or refusing to hire someone solely because their wages are being garnished for a single debt. These anti-discrimination laws are in place to protect employees from unfair treatment in the workplace due to wage garnishment. If you believe you've been discriminated against because of garnishment, you may have legal recourse.

Are there any types of income exempt from wage garnishment in California?

Yes, in California, certain types of income are generally exempt from wage garnishment. These include Social Security benefits, unemployment compensation, and other specific types of income. These exemptions are designed to ensure that individuals have access to essential funds needed for their well-being and to support themselves and their families during challenging financial times.

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