How to Deal With Wage Garnishment: A Complete Guide
If you are facing wage garnishment in Georgia, you may be feeling hopeless and overwhelmed. Thankfully, you may have legal options. Learn more here.
The Basics of Atlanta GA Wage Garnishment
When dealing with wage garnishments, it can be very frustrating and put you in a financial bind, making it difficult to settle your bills.
When they experience having their wages garnished, many want to use bankruptcy as a last resort due to the long-term effects on their credit, and others seek help from a debt relief agency. They don’t realize that beginning the bankruptcy process provides a “stay,” which automatically stops the garnishment without further questions.
The stay keeps their creditors from pursuing any additional garnishment actions against the debtor. As soon as you file bankruptcy and obtain a case number, they are required to stop garnishing bank funds and wages.
Determining whether to file bankruptcy or consider other options requires thorough scrutiny of your financial circumstances. Therefore, it is wise to contact a licensed GA advocate who completely understands federal law to help you decide which is the best alternative for you when dealing with garnishment.
Choosing the Right Attorney for Wage Garnishment
When choosing the right attorney for wage garnishment consultation, consider Matthew Cherney of Cherney Law Firm. Atlanta, GA, wage garnishment attorney Matthew Cherney of Cherney Law Firm can stop your wages from being garnished immediately.
If you live in the Atlanta area and creditors are garnishing your wages, or they are threatening to garnish your wages, Cherney Law Firm can stop it with the court judgment. By filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy code and following a legal process, you will immediately get relief from your wages being garnished.
Cherney Law Firm has been helping its clients fight wage garnishment for over eight years. We will help you understand all available legal options to sort out your financial problems without getting into long-term worries. With three offices in the Atlanta area, there is a convenient location for you to choose from.
Why Might You Experience Garnishment in Georgia?
There are many reasons wage garnishment may occur. These include the following:
- Car Creditor
- Unpaid Child Support
- Collections Company
- Credit Card Debt
- IRS Debt (Taxes)
- Medical Bills
- Personal Loan From an Individual
- Student Loans
- Back taxes
Don’t ignore wage garnishment. The chances are that you are receiving phone calls and letters about the debt that you owe. Instead of ignoring all of these calls and letters, it is always best to speak with your debtors to see if alternatives can be worked out. Negotiation can help you keep more than the minimum wage decided as per the state laws.
Our experienced attorneys in Cherney Law Firm can help you negotiate with creditors and bring the best outcome to help you support your financial situation.
How To Stop Wage Garnishment
The right attorney might be able to explain how to stop wage garnishment in Atlanta, GA. The ideal situation would be to contact an attorney to help you before a garnishment has been ruled against you.
A bankruptcy and wage garnishment attorney like Matthew Cherney can then try to negotiate with your lender.
If this does not work, which isn’t common in most cases, filing bankruptcy before the order against you will stop when you file. That means that the lender can no longer proceed to get your wages garnished or try to collect the bill you owe.
It is also essential for some people to stop garnishment before a judge grants it because by stopping it before it happens, your employer will never find out.
Once a creditor is granted a judgment against you, they will notify your employer with forms and guidelines about the wage garnishment judgment against you.
How Long Can a Wage Garnishment Order Last in Georgia
In Georgia, a wage garnishment order typically lasts until the debt is fully paid. For federal student loans, garnishment can continue until the debt is settled. Georgia wage garnishment laws align with federal law limits, which cap garnishments at the lesser of 25% of disposable earnings or the amount by which weekly earnings exceeds 30 times the current federal minimum wage. The wage garnishment process in GA is initiated by a judgment creditor. While unpaid taxes or federal student loans have their own rules, both state and federal laws protect certain incomes, like supplemental security income, from garnishment.
Can a Creditor Legally Garnish Your Wages in GA?
You may be wondering, “Can a creditor legally garnish your wages in GA?” The short answer is “Yes.” The process is complicated, though. To get a garnishment, the loaner must first take the defaulter to court.
The first lawsuit provides a monetary judgment stating that the debtor must compensate the creditor a certain amount of money. The process server or sheriff delivers the lawsuit to the debtor in person or a person aged 18 or over who lives with the debtor. If the debtor disputes the claims made against them, they must defend themself in the courtroom.
Suppose the lender proves to the judge that the debtor, in fact, owes the money. Then, the judge issues a court order to the creditor. If, however, the debtor chooses not to answer the lawsuit in a timely fashion, the judge will award an automatic judgment to the creditor and send the paperwork to the two parties, as well as the debtor’s employer.
These papers will state that the employer has 45 days to begin withholding money from the debtor’s paycheck or explain to the judge that the debtor no longer works for that company. The employer sends the funds to the court. After that, the judge that ordered the garnishment forwards the funds to the creditor.
Can multiple creditors garnish my wages at the same time in Georgia?
In Georgia, as in many states, multiple creditors can initiate garnishment proceedings to garnish wages from a debtor. However, there are limits set by both state and federal laws to protect individuals from excessive wage garnishments.
The Consumer Credit Protection Act (CCPA) is a federal law that sets the maximum amount that can be garnished from an individual’s disposable earnings, ensuring that debtors have sufficient income to meet their basic needs.
Disposable earnings are the portion of an employee’s wages that remains after legally required deductions, essentially their disposable income. Under the CCPA, the maximum wage garnishment amounts are capped at the lesser of two calculations: 25% of an individual’s disposable earnings or the amount by which a person’s weekly income exceeds 30 times the federal minimum wage.
This ensures that an individual retains an income equivalent to at least 30 times the federal minimum wage.
When dealing with multiple judgment creditors, the total amount garnished cannot exceed these federal limits. If one creditor has a garnishment order in place that takes up the full allowable percentage, another creditor must wait their turn.
However, if the first creditor’s order doesn’t use up the full allowable amount, a second creditor could potentially garnish wages up to that limit.
It’s essential for individuals facing multiple wage garnishments to be aware of their rights. If the combined garnishments exceed the federal or state limits, one can take legal action to stop wage garnishments that are over the permissible amount.
Understanding the intricacies of garnishment proceedings and the protections offered by laws like the Consumer Credit Protection Act can be crucial in ensuring that one’s disposable earnings aren’t excessively garnished.
If faced with such a situation, consulting with a legal expert can provide guidance on navigating multiple garnishment orders.
Can Social Security Income be Garnished in Atlanta, GA?
If you’re worried about your social security being garnished, we have good news. Social Security is largely protected from garnishment, and it can only be garnished for a few specifically defined debts.
It’s important to know that the federal government has strict rules regarding how much of your income can be taken away through salary or bank account seizure.
The law protects most payments and retirement benefits like social security, SSI, pensions, public assistance (TANF), veteran’s benefits (VA), and child support. However, there are some exceptions to this rule depending on what type of loan you owe.
For example, if you owe back tax or student loan, then those types of debts do not fall under the protection of these laws because they are not considered “retirement funds” by federal standards.
What Happens if Your Employer Improperly Handles Your Garnishment?
If your employer improperly handles your garnishment in Georgia, they might be considered responsible for paying the entire amount of the debt to the lender. This is just one reason that a legal consultation to discuss bankruptcy options from a reputable law firm is prudent.
By filing a Chapter 13, you are protected from further collection, and so is your employer. This ensures they won’t be able to mess up the garnishment during the bankruptcy filing process.
In What Areas Will the Cherney Law Firm Provide Legal Advice?
In addition to Atlanta, Cherney Law Firm has worked with thousands of clients in Marietta, GA. In fact, the first office that we opened is still located in Marietta, and we now serve several communities in the Atlanta/Marietta area.
Other Areas of Practice…
Other areas we serve include the following:
- Cherokee County
- Cobb County
- North Fulton County
- Paulding County
- Powder Springs
It is important to note that we can help even if you already have your wages garnished. Unfortunately, this is the situation that a majority of our clients find themselves in. We will stop it immediately and develop a plan to end your credit problems and give you a brand new start.
Understanding GA Wage Garnishment Laws
It is important to be fully versed in GA wage garnishment laws when trying to change your situation. To execute a collection of involuntary wage garnishment, the debt collector must have the right to garnishment.
If the debtor wishes to stop the garnishment from your bank account or paycheck, they have minimal time to do so before funds are paid to the loaner. In Georgia, you have a few options by which to dispute whether the garnishment is legal. There are a few options to solve your problems. The right advocate might be able to offer your alternatives to wage garnishment in Atlanta.
What Are Wage Garnishment Laws In GA?
There are two types of garnishments: court-ordered and non-court-ordered. The garnishee should take the case to the courtroom so a lawyer can help with defendant negotiations when necessary.
In court-ordered garnishment, the debt collector files a suit in court to collect a judgment against the debtor. If successful, they can legally garnish your wages or your bank account.
You can and should appear in court to defend yourself if you believe that you do not owe the debt. Otherwise, you will be required to pay the monies owed through garnishment of your wages or bank accounts.
In a non-court-ordered garnishment, you would not have to go through the same process previously explicitly mentioned.
There are circumstances when a court-ordered judgment is not necessary for garnishment in Atlanta, Georgia. One of them is child support enforcement. It is wise to consult with a lawyer to determine which is right for you.
Finding a Resolution for Wage Garnishment
There are several ways to succeed in traversing a wage garnishment, thereby successfully handling the situation, such as:
- Demonstrating that the initial judgment on which the garnishment is based is invalid
- Joint accounts where the funds do not belong solely to the debtor
- Social security income is the only income
In those cases, a garnishment can be traversed. However, if you lack the money or time to navigate or dispute a garnishment, an attorney may suggest that you try to settle the debt. Debt settlement is likely to be more successful at the garnishment stage if you offer your creditors a one-time lump sum.
Depending on the facts of the case and your financial circumstances, you might be able to settle for as little as one-third of the total amount that the judge determined you owed.
So, if you were able to be served with the paperwork for the initial lawsuit because perhaps you lived somewhere else at the time and you can prove it, you may be able to win a traverse by showing the creditor proof of residence. However, to save money and time, you would prefer to settle the debt.
Then, if the lender accepts the settlement offer, the garnishment will be dismissed. The creditor will stop attempts to collect on the account and will cancel all of your liens.
As long as the loan is successfully settled for the lump sum of money lower than the debt’s total balance, then you could receive 1099 for payment from the creditor showing the canceled debt. When you need a wage garnishment attorney, consider a reputable law office like Cherney Law.
Does Georgia Allow Wage Garnishment?
Some of the first questions you may want to ask your counsel are, “Does Georgia allow wage garnishment? Is wage garnishment legal?” The answer to those questions is yes. Garnishment is legal in Atlanta, Georgia, much like most cities in the USA.
Your creditors can legally require your employer to withhold up to 25% of your wages (in some cases more) if you are found to be responsible for a certain amount of money. But, they must first get a court order to do it. They will send you a notice to appear in court. Whether you appear or not, the judge can make a judgment against you.
Wage Garnishment Attorney Georgia
When you need a wage garnishment lawyer in Georgia, get a free consultation. If you are unsure if bankruptcy is right for you, the best thing to do is schedule a free consultation.
Call us at 770.485.4141 or fill out our contact form at the bottom of this page. We can meet in any of our Atlanta-area offices, and Mr.Cherney will be happy to discuss your situation.
Read Our Testimonials
Finding a knowledgeable and experienced Atlanta wage garnishment attorney is significant because you need someone who understands the laws in Georgia regarding this matter. At Cherney Law Firm, all we do is bankruptcy and everything related to debt relief and negotiation.
Feel free to read our testimonials and read our Google reviews. We are very proud to be one of the best-reviewed in the Atlanta area.
How Much Does an Atlanta Wage Garnishment Attorney Cost?
We offer a free consultation to all of our clients so you can see for yourself that Cherney Law Firm has the experience and knowledge to help you. We will explain to you what will happen if you choose to use our services or not.
Every situation is unique, so we do not have a one-price-fits-all model. It will all depend on what service we provide to help you. Whatever service we do provide, we will offer you a monthly payment plan.
At Cherney Law Firm LLC, clients can expect the highest quality legal representation alongside thoughtful counseling and attention to detail. Mr. Cherney dedicates his time to properly investigating every possible avenue of debt relief for his clients before simply stepping into bankruptcy. Seeking to make each consumer that comes to him for legal aid as comfortable as possible, he keeps his clients in the loop with every step he takes.