Wage Garnishment Lawyer Kentucky
How to Stop Wage Garnishments in Kentucky
Having creditors hound you daily can be a very trying time. Discovering that one or more creditors are trying to take your hard-earned money away from you is stressful. Wage garnishments happens to hundreds of people just like you. Luckily, there are steps you can take to reverse the effects. A Louisville bankruptcy attorney at O’Bryan Law Offices can help you stop wage garnishment in KY. Contact a wage garnishment lawyer with our law firm today at 502-400-4020 to schedule your free consultation with us.
At O’Bryan Law Offices, we can help you achieve debt relief in Kentucky and Indiana, as well as handle garnished wages without notification. Once you establish an attorney-client relationship with us, we can offer a free evaluation of your case. This means we don’t accept a cent from you during your initial consultation. In this way, we protect our clients from being bogged down with attorneys’ fees when they’re already struggling. We can also advise you on the best course of action for your individual situation.
What is Wage Garnishment?
A creditor, or someone you owe money to, can have an attorney file a motion with the court to force your employers to collect a certain amount from your paycheck. They do this in order to have you pay your debt to them. The process of deducting this debt from your pay is known as garnishing wages. In this situation, you are known as a “debtor.”
Garnished wages can be devastating to an individual or family and often makes an already bad financial situation much worse. It can take away a large portion of your total monthly income, making it harder to pay your debts. Luckily, there are a few ways to stop garnished wages, protect yourself from their effects, and achieve debt relief.
How Wage Garnishment Works in Kentucky
It’s important to understand that states have the right to impose stricter garnishment limits. In other words, state laws vary on the matter. However, Kentucky adheres to federal law when it comes to garnishments. Below, we outline how Kentucky garnishments work.
Limits on Wage Garnishment in Kentucky
The federal government has placed limits on amounts for garnishments. Kentucky law mirrors federal law in this area. Weekly garnishments may not exceed the lesser of the following limits.
- 25% of your disposable income for the week
- The amount that your weekly disposable income exceeds 30 times the federal minimum wage
In order to stop garnished wages, you must understand how their limits work. A garnishment order, even a well-founded one, may not exceed a certain amount. Federal limitations are based on the federal minimum wage. Below, we explain more specific limits for Kentucky wage garnishments.
If you owe back taxes, the federal government can garnish your wages through tax levies. They don’t even need a court judgment to do so. However, there is a certain weekly exempt amount that you can take advantage of. We recommend seeking professional help from a Kentucky garnishment lawyer to better understand how to make use of these exemptions.
Federal law places a limit of a maximum of 50% of your weekly disposable earnings. This limit applies to those individuals who are currently supporting a different spouse or a child that is not involved in the support order. Those who are not supporting others may have up to 60% of their disposable earnings garnished. Additionally, they can increase the garnishment amount by 5% if you are behind by more than 12 weeks in payments.
Even if you are behind on federal student loans, you can have your disposable earnings garnished. For this, the Department of Education can garnish up to 15% of your disposable income.
How Does Kentucky Wage Garnishment Happen?
The majority of garnished wages begin when a creditor, such as a credit card company or a bank, files a lawsuit against a client for nonpayment. Banks that sue homeowners following a foreclosure are included in this category. They receive a judgment against the individual if they win in court. As a result of the ruling, they are now able to get a garnishment order. The person’s employer receives the court order. Employers must adhere to court-ordered garnishments.
Will Filing Bankruptcy Stop Wage Garnishments?
Generally, filing bankruptcy will stop your wage garnishment. If you are already behind in payments to a creditor or have a pending lawsuit, a garnishment is very possibly the next step. It may be in your best interest to file bankruptcy sooner rather than later in order to prevent that creditor from garnishing the money you need to pay your bills. While filing bankruptcy works briefly, it is not the end-all-be-all for your financial woes. For more specific information related to the benefits of bankruptcy, we recommend reading our related article.
Does Someone Have to Notify You Before Garnishing Wages?
Prior to getting your wages garnished, you should have received several things in the mail. First and foremost, a creditor would have filed a lawsuit against you. Again, a filed judgment is not required for owed child support, student loans, or taxes. Having a judgment filed against you does not automatically mean they will garnish your wages, and you often have some time before you have to take action. Other things that could happen include a bank levy or judgment lien filed on your property.
Your wages will not be garnished without warning. You and your employer will both get notice before they are deducted. The paperwork you will receive in the mail will include the phrase “Order of Wage Garnishment.” If you receive this wage garnishment order and have not made steps toward filing bankruptcy, it is now time to take action. You should be able to file before it starts and avoid it altogether.
Can I Negotiate My Garnishment?
Yes, it is possible to try negotiating with your creditors before or after the wage garnishment order is put in place. This can be a particularly useful option if anything changes in your life, such as receiving a significant tax refund. When this happens, many people ask their creditors if they can use a refund to settle their debts.
How Much Money Can Be Garnished From Your Paycheck?
The intent of having wages garnished is to pay off the entire debt. An amount of about 25% of your paycheck will be taken out each time and sent to the creditor until the debt is paid. However, be aware that the percentage of pay to repay child support, student loans, or taxes could be higher.
How to Stop Wage Garnishments?
A wage garnishment will continue until the entire debt is paid off or arrangements are made to pay off the debt. If you do not want to file bankruptcy, your only other options are continuing with the garnishment or contacting the creditor directly to arrange payments for the debt.
Filing a chapter 7 bankruptcy or a chapter 13 bankruptcy can put an end to your wage garnishment. Once you file and have a case number, creditors will no longer legally be able to pursue you. In chapter 13, you will pay back your creditors, including the one trying to garnish you, with plan payments. In a chapter 7 bankruptcy, as long as the debt is dischargeable, they can take no further action against you.
Your Louisville bankruptcy attorney will send notice to the creditor and their attorney to get the wage garnishment stopped immediately. Additionally, we may be able to recover some of the funds that may have been taken. If you’re looking to stop wage garnishments in their tracks or achieve debt relief, O’Bryan Law Offices is here for you.
How to Stop Wage Garnishment Before It Starts
A judgment is required before a creditor or collection agency may obtain a garnishment order. To put it another way, they need to win the lawsuit. Now, fighting the lawsuit isn’t always a smart idea (after all, unless the debt you’re being sued for isn’t yours, there’s rarely a strong defense), but that doesn’t mean you should ignore it.
Also, consider speaking with an attorney who offers credit counseling. At O’Bryan Law Offices, we’ll evaluate your financial situation and recommend how to stop wage garnishment for your situation. We’ll also assist you with putting together a repayment plan to offer the bank, if applicable.
If you do (ignore the case), you will just hasten the inevitable. If the creditor hasn’t heard from you in a long time, they might seek the court to issue a default judgment against you. This is known as a default judgment, and it’s similar to forfeiting a softball game because your team didn’t show up.
How Can I Protect My Wages from Garnishment?
In Kentucky, you can use certain wage garnishment exemptions to your advantage. Exemptions are just one form of income protection. They keep your creditors from taking more than a certain acceptable amount from your wages. This leaves you some financial breathing room to pay for basic expenses.
While every state has its own set of exemptions, creditors generally cannot garnish income from the following sources.
- Social security payments
- Spousal support payments, or alimony
- Child support orders
- Retirement earnings
- Disability payments
Additionally, low-income earners or those working for the federal minimum hourly wage might be able to claim exemptions for their total wages. High-income earners are much more likely to face wage garnishments of their weekly wages.
Is There a Chance of Getting Garnished Wages Back?
If you have been garnished before you filed for bankruptcy, it is possible to get some of your garnished wages back. Funds in excess of $600 taken within the ninety days prior to filing can be recovered. Any amount that is taken after the filing date can also be recovered. Usually, a refund check will be sent to your attorney for you to pick up.
Benefits of the Automatic Stay
Not only does the automatic stay interrupt standard collection calls and letters, but it also covers such other actions as the following:
- Any lawsuit against a debtor in bankruptcy
- Garnishment, attachment, repossession, or other collection strategies
- Mortgage foreclosure
- Enforcement of judgments or liens
There are a few exceptions to the automatic stay that generally have to do with child support and alimony obligations. Under some circumstances, a creditor can also ask the bankruptcy court for permission – motion for relief from the automatic stay – to resume collection efforts. These are most common when the creditor’s claim is supported by an interest in collateral. We can negotiate with the creditor to protect your interests in these situations.
Does Wage Garnishment Affect Credit Score?
Because credit is so important, we understand the worry that a garnishment might affect your credit score. Technically, the damage that’s done to your credit score comes more from the missed payments rather than the garnishment itself. Garnished wages themselves rarely show up on credit reports.
Additionally, these judgments fall off of your credit report after 7 years, so you won’t live with the consequences forever. Unfortunately, you must wait for this 7-year period to pass before the garnishment falls off your credit report. However, there are ways to build your credit score after the fact. Once you establish a confidential relationship with our firm, we can help you determine how to restore credit and achieve debt relief.
Need an Experienced Wage Garnishment Lawyer?
Don’t wait for that garnishment to start. Call today to schedule your free Bankruptcy consultation with one of our experienced Louisville Bankruptcy attorneys. At O’Bryan Law Offices, we have helped thousands of individuals and families file Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcies. We will help you understand your options and determine which chapter of bankruptcy is right for you. Our clients have dealt with many of life’s challenges, resulting in overwhelming debt. They chose to address their debt head-on and give themselves the fresh start they deserve.
If you are interested in learning about your options through bankruptcy, make an appointment to speak with an of the experienced Bankruptcy lawyer at O’Bryan Law Offices today. We now offer free “Life After Bankruptcy” courses to our clients to help them rebuild their credit scores. Call our law firm today at 502-400-4020 for a free bankruptcy consultation. Get a fresh start and stop garnishment today. Any sensitive or confidential information you give us will remain confidential.