The bills are piling up and the phone rings incessantly with rude and abusive collection agents. As the debts mount, you may have to make strategic decisions about which bills to pay and which to ignore. When you are already struggling to keep your head above water and provide for your family’s basic financial needs, the receipt of a notice that your wages are going to be garnished can make a financially difficult situation impossible. When a creditor is garnishing your wages, which are already insufficient to meet your family’s financial needs, it is crucial that you stop them from taking your wages.
Generally, most creditors under Arizona law may garnish up to 25 percent of your net disposable income, but a court may reduce that amount to 15 percent. For most financial obligations, no more than 25 percent of your income can be garnished regardless of whether multiple creditors obtain wage assignment orders. If you are facing multiple wage garnishments, then the amount deducted will be divided between multiple creditors, or the 1st creditor will be paid 25 percent until the debt is paid in full before the next creditor that serves an attachment on your employer is paid.
Certain types of wage garnishments can be even harsher including priority debts like wage assignments for child support or tax obligations. . Depending on your circumstances, child support obligations can result in a wage garnishment of your pay check of 50 percent or more. While specific types of financial obligations like child support or certain taxes may not be subject to discharge in a Chapter 7 discharge, the bankruptcy process may offer some relief with the temporary automatic stay which may stop them from taking your wages during the time it is in effect. We may also be able to discharge certain tax obligations or arrange a Chapter 13 discharge that can make it easier to pay this type of obligation by stretching arrearages (i.e. past due amounts) out over a 3 or 5 year term of repayment.
It is much easier to keep a creditor from taking your income by wage garnishment, than to recover money taken by a creditor pursuant to a wage garnishment. If you have received notice of intent to garnish your wages, you should immediately contact an experienced Arizona bankruptcy attorney to make them stop garnishing your wages. If you wait to seek legal advice and allow amounts to be deducted from your paychecks, you will probably not be able to recover the lost income that has already been taken. The sooner you seek legal assistance from an experienced Arizona bankruptcy law firm, the greater the chance you can protect valuable income that you need to support your family.
Although Arizona wage garnishment law specifies that only “net disposable income” is subject to garnishment, this term is much broader than used in everyday parlance. The term generally encompasses any income that is left after specific legally required deductions for items like tax withholding, unemployment contributions, FICA and similar legal mandated deductions and/or withholding. It is important to note that there is no allowance made for living expenses such as mortgage payments, rent, utilities, car payments, food, clothing, and other basic necessities. This makes it essential that stop them from taking your wages immediately, or you may be unable to cover the essentials for your family.
The experienced Arizona bankruptcy lawyers at Stone Rose Law may be able to help you stop them from taking your wages immediately by filing for bankruptcy protection. We may also be able to identify other strategies for helping you obtaining relief from a wage garnishment based on other defenses such as statute of limitation grounds for the underlying debt or enforcement of a garnishment order. If a creditor has sued you or obtained a judgement against you or you have received a notice of wage assignment or garnishment, time is of the essence.
Our experienced Arizona bankruptcy attorneys may be able to stop them from taking your wages but may not be able to recover income that has already been taken. We frequently can stop a wage assignment before any of our clients’ income has been taken so call us today at 480-498-8998.
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