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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!

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