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Phone: 805.492.7045
Due to precautions related to COVID-19, we have expanded our options for remote consultations. Please contact our office to discuss whether a full phone consultation or video conference is appropriate for your situation.

Wage Garnishment Laws in California

California is a bustling capital of enterprise where everyone has ideas and notions of their own and where many people go to work and make a name for themselves.

This is all fine and dandy but what happens when you have a wage garnishment that needs to be taken care of? Each state and area has their own specific wage garnishment laws and taking the time to learn about your state’s particular laws can help you to figure out what you are doing and what your garnishment could potentially look like.

Wage Garnishment

It is helpful to first find out just what a wage garnishment is. This means that a federal agency or a higher agency is going to be able to take a percentage of your wages directly from your employer before you ever even see your check.

This is a process that is simple enough and that does help to satisfy a range of debts that you might be dealing with. With this type of process your employer is going to enter into an agreement with the agency that is going to be taking the money and they will withhold that amount of money and send it to the garnishment agency.

Garnishments can be used to satisfy a ton of different debts and a ton of different debt types. Some of the most common are child support debt, student loan debt, alimony and tax debt.

There are plenty of other types of debts that can result in a garnishment, these are just the most common. With these debts the collection agency or the agency that is managing the debt will get directly in touch with your employer to star the garnishment. Often, this is a last ditch effort by the person that holds the debt to collect.

An agency or a company is not going to garnish your wages for a debt that is a month past due, in many cases, a garnishment results when all other options have been exhausted and when the debtor and the debt holder cannot come to an agreement on repayment.

Limitations on the Amount of Earnings that May be Garnished for Child Support or Alimony

Though garnishment may be a scary prospect and you may not know what to expect, you can expect that no debt collector or agency is going to be able to take your entire pay-check to pay back a debt.

There are laws in place that protect the worker and that prevent all their wages from being taken in a garnishment. The rule of thumb is that a garnishment can only take up to 50% of your earnings if you are currently supporting a spouse or a dependent child, and only 60% if you are not.

Most wage garnishments are not going to be so harsh. In most cases your lawyer or the agency that is setting up the garnishment will work to get their money back without taking so much of your pay-check that you cannot live or support yourself and that you are not tempted to quit your job to halt the garnishment. Once a garnishment is put into effect, only quitting your job or paying off the loan in full can stop it.

Title III of the CCPA’s Limitations on Wage Garnishment

Title III exists to help protect the worker so that they are not working only to pay off their debt. This motion was put into effect to make sure that the worker is not going to be forfeiting their entire check to pay off the debt that they have incurred.

It states that up to 50% of your check can be taken if you have a dependent child or spouse that you are supporting and 60% if you do not. If you do have child or spousal support payments that are at least 12 weeks behind, title III states that an additional 5% can be taken to help get those payments up to date and then the extra 5% will drop off.

Exceptions to Title III’s Limitations on Wage Garnishments

This garnishment law is aimed specifically at spousal and child support rulings and paying off those debts, not other debts that may have resulted in the garnishment being put into effect. For other debts like a debt owed to the federal government, up to 15% of your pay can be taken to pay back those debts, 15% can be taken to pay of student loan debt, and other percentages can be taken for other debts.

The process is not as simple as you may imagine when it comes to determining how much money can be taken. The only money that can be garnished is what is considered disposable income.

There are percentages and equations that are used to determine how much the disposable income for each worker is and then to determine how much of that money can then be garnished. A garnishment is not the end of the line.

For those that might have trouble sticking to payment schedules and to making payments, a garnishment may actually be helpful and can help you get your debts paid off without your having to worry about making payments on your own.

If you have a garnishment in place and you want to know more about it, talking with a lawyer can help you to understand what you are looking at, how much money is going to be taken, and what to expect overall.

Wage garnishment is not something that happens with everyone but when the time comes and if you find yourself struggling then take the help of professionals of Berneman Law Firm to ensure everything goes according to the plan.