Los Angeles Wage Garnishment Lawyers
Wage garnishment is a debt collection tool that is quite popular in California. Someone with a judgment against you can garnish a percentage of your wages. Your employer withholds a set amount and sends it directly to the creditor, and you have little say in the matter. Wage garnishments are potentially embarrassing, alerting your employer to the fact that you were sued. They can also substantially reduce your income. The good news is that you can use a bankruptcy filing to stop wage garnishment in its tracks. Speak with a Los Angeles wage garnishment lawyer at Wadhwani & Shanfeld today.
Stop Wage Garnishment Fast
In California, a judgment creditor cannot garnish all your wages at once. Instead, the maximum they can take is based on the lesser of:
1. 25% of your weekly disposable earnings, or
2. 50% of the amount your disposable earnings in a week exceed 40 times the minimum wage.
Your disposable earnings are essentially what you get paid after required deductions, like FICA taxes.
As of July 1, 2023, the minimum wage in Los Angeles is $16.78 an hour. Forty times that is $671.20. So if you make $700 a week, the most the judgment creditor could take is about $15 as a wage garnishment. But if you made $1,000, then they could take more. If you made $4,000 a week, then the most is 25% of that, or $1,000.
How can bankruptcy help with wage garnishment?
When a debtor files for bankruptcy protection, an automatic stay goes into effect. This stay will halt any and all collection efforts against you. That gives you some breathing room. If a creditor doesn’t stop a wage garnishment, you can ask for the court’s help and even sue the creditor for violating the stay. Of course, once your bankruptcy case ends—or the debtor convinces a judge to lift the stay—the garnishment can start back up. The automatic stay is only a temporary solution.
However, you might be able to discharge the underlying debt in bankruptcy. This is a real possibility if your debt was nonpriority debt like credit card bills, health care bills, or payday loans. Even though the creditor has a judgment, you can still discharge it in Chapter 7.
You can’t discharge priority debts, like unpaid child support or alimony, some tax debt, or judgments related to financial fraud or drunk driving. So if you were sued by a pedestrian for plowing into them while drunk, you can’t get rid of that in bankruptcy.
You should meet with an attorney to see if filing for bankruptcy will help you with a wage garnishment. It is sometimes possible to completely eliminate the debt, in addition to stopping the garnishment while you get your financial affairs in order.
Helping Los Angeles Debtors
Wadhwani & Shanfeld has built a reputation for providing high-quality legal solutions to debtors. If you need help, or if you fear wage garnishment is on the horizon, please call us to speak with a Los Angeles wage garnishment lawyer.