A women who had been divorced in Wisconsin for nearly four years, was shocked to find out that her wages were going to be garnished because her ex hadn’t paid his student loans. Because the student loans originated during the time of legal marriage, the woman was then held liable for repayment when her ex-husband neglected to pay. Midwestern states, including Wisconsin, have some of the highest wage garnishments by geographic region. Studies indicate that basically the same proportion of women and men experience wage garnishments. However, the most common cause of a wage garnishment involves the failure to pay child support. In this case, men are six times more likely than women to have wages garnished. If a debt collector or creditor gets permission from a court, or has the legal right to take money from your paycheck or tax return; your sex, race, income, status or best intentions will make no difference. ADP Research Institute® used aggregated, anonymous payroll data from 2013, comprised of 13 million employees ages 16 and older for study found here.
Overview of WI wage garnishment process
The majority of wage garnishments are initiated when a creditor seeks a court order to obtain judgement which then allows them to take from your personal earnings to pay off a debt. The collector provides notice of the intended action to the debtor, typically in the form of a ‘demand letter.’ The notice will state details about the garnishment including the debt source, garnishment amount, and duration of the garnishment. Depending on the type of debt, certain creditors don’t need a court order.
- If you owe money to a state or federal agency such as the IRS, your wages can be garnished without a court order.
- If a court has ordered you to pay child support, your wages may be garnished without additional court action.
If there are no earnings to pull from the originating debtor, the collector or creditor may then seek payment from a spouse or co-signer. A garnishment letter may or may not contain forms to request a hearing. If you do nothing, the garnishment order will proceed. If you wish to dispute, immediately contact a law firm with experience in preventing wage garnishments.
You have the right to dispute a wage garnishment
Title III of the Consumer Credit Protection Act limits the amount of employee’s earnings that may be garnished. In some cases, the law may protect the debtor from being fired, and contain other protections for personal income earnings, pension and retirement programs. U.S. Dept. of Labor Fact Sheet #30: Federal Wage Garnishment Law, Consumer Credit Protection Act’s Title 3. The wage garnishment law specifies that the garnishment restrictions do not apply to certain bankruptcy court orders. When you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, an automatic stay is created which stops creditors from taking any legal action or pursuing any collection against you, including wage garnishments.Debt Advisors Law Offices is familiar with federal laws, state protections, restrictions, exceptions,and bankruptcy laws regarding wage garnishments. Setup a free consultation at one of (6) convenient locations in the Milwaukee and Madison Metro areas.