Wage Garnishment in Oakland, CA
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Wage garnishment, also known as "attachment," occurs when a certain
portion of your paycheck is withheld from you and used to pay back a creditor
or debt collector. When this happens, your employer takes the money out
before you receive your check. Wage garnishment can cause both embarrassment
(since your employer is dragged into your financial troubles) and severe
financial hardship (since you are forced to make ends meet with less income).
Creditors and debt collectors can only garnish your wages with a court
judgment, which is obtained after the creditor or debt collectors sues
you. However, there are certain types of debt that can be collected through
wage garnishment even without a court judgment. These include overdue
income tax debt, unpaid child support and defaulted student loan debt.
If you are suffering from wage garnishment or you are at risk of having
your wages garnished, you may be able to put a stop to this action through
bankruptcy. Once you declare bankruptcy, you get to benefit from an automatic stay,
which brings your creditors' collection efforts (including wage garnishment)
to a halt while you undergo the bankruptcy process. At The Bankruptcy
Law Firm, we have Oakland bankruptcy attorneys who can help you explore
your options for using bankruptcy to obtain relief from wage garnishment.
How Wage Garnishment Works in California
State and federal wage garnishment laws set certain limitations on how
much of a debtor's check can be withheld. In California, wages can
only be garnished up to the following amount (as calculated by the workweek):
- Up to 25% of the debtor's disposable income, or
- 40 times the state's minimum wage minus the debtor's weekly disposable
income (whichever of the two is less).
In contrast, federal law allows wage garnishment at either up to 25% of
the debtor's disposable income or up to 30 times the federal minimum
wage (whichever is less). As can be seen here, debtors have a greater
level of protection under California law than they do under federal law
when it comes to wage garnishment. Even so, the greatest level of protection
would be avoiding wage garnishment altogether, which may be a possibility
when the debtor files for bankruptcy.
Contact The Bankruptcy Law Firm to get the help you need when you are threatened with wage garnishment.
We serve clients throughout the San Francisco Bay Area!