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All About Wage Garnishment in California

It is easy to remember this during the mild, sunny winters and less easy to keep it in mind during the droughts and wildfires of summer, but we have it better here in California than people do in most other states, and not just because In-N-Out Burger is never far away. California’s minimum wage is one of the highest in the country; the only places with a higher minimum wage are Washington state and Washington D.C. California also has more robust statewide family leave policies than most other states. Meanwhile, debt is a nationwide problem, even here in the Golden State. In some cases, creditors can take installment payments on unpaid debts directly out of your paycheck. The encouraging news is that many dominoes must fall before a creditor can start garnishing your paycheck, which means that you have many opportunities to resolve the problem before the garnishments begin. Filing for bankruptcy protection is just one way to protect yourself from wage garnishment. If you are in danger of getting your paychecks garnished, contact an Oakland wage garnishment lawyer.

Your Right to Due Process Before Creditors Start Garnishing Your Wages

A wage garnishment, also known as a wage attachment, happens when your employer sends a portion of each of your paychecks directly to a creditor for as many pay periods as it takes until the debt is repaid in full. Employers do not send part of your hard-earned money to a creditor just because they feel like it or just because the creditor asked nicely. A creditor can only garnish your paychecks if a court orders the creditor to do this. A court order for wage attachment is the final step in a long process of debt collection efforts. First, the creditor must attempt to get you to pay the debt by communicating directly with you. Next, the creditor must file a lawsuit against you, and the court must rule in favor of the creditor. The creditor can only request a court order for wage attachment if you did not pay after the court ordered you to pay in its ruling in the lawsuit.

How Much Money Can Creditors Garnish From Each Paycheck?

Creditors cannot help themselves to all of your money simply because you are employed. To determine how much the creditor can garnish, the court calculates two amounts and orders the garnishment of the lesser amount. The first calculated amount is 25 percent of your take-home pay. The second amount is calculated as follows. The court subtracts full-time minimum wage pay (40 times $15.50, which is $620) from your weekly earnings; if you earn $1,000 per week, the difference is $380. Half of that is the amount subject to garnishment; in this scenario, the garnished amount would be $190 per week.

Contact the Law Office of Melanie Tavare About Wage Garnishment

A bankruptcy lawyer can help you avoid wage garnishment or discharge other debts if your paychecks are already being garnished to pay one debt. Contact the Law Office of Melanie Tavare in Oakland, California, or call (510)255-4646 for a free case evaluation.

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