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Dealing with wage garnishment? Here is what you should know

When a person goes to work, he or she expects to receive full pay for the hours he or she worked. While you may have worked all of your hours and done your job completely, you may not receive all of your paycheck if there is a wage garnishment order against you. This is the withholding of a certain amount of your income in order to pay your debt. 

Your personal debt problems can affect your paycheck, which will make it even more difficult to pay your bills and hope to ever get ahead. Creditors may move to initiate the wage garnishment process if their previous attempts to collect payment from you have not been successful. If this happens to you, it can help to know your rights and what you could possibly do to make this process stop.

How does it start?

No matter how much you owe, a creditor can seek to get approval from a court to garnish your wages. There must be approval before a Tennessee employer can start withholding a portion of your pay. There will be a court hearing about this, and you have the right to attend if you choose to do so. You should also receive a notice from your employer before garnishment starts happening.

What are your rights?

Regardless of how far in debt you are or what you owe to various creditors, you have certain rights. There are limits to the wage garnishment process designed to prevent impoverishment. For example, there is a limit to how much your employer can withhold at a time. Federal law states that an employer cannot withhold more than 25% of your disposable earnings each week.

Also, the law states that wage garnishment is not valid grounds to fire an employee. Simply because your employer has an order to withhold some of your wages for one debt does not mean that he or she can terminate you. However, there may be an exception if there is garnishment for two or more debts.

How can you make it stop?

Wage garnishment is frustrating, and it can mean you will fall even farther behind. However, if you choose to file for bankruptcy, you can make this process stop once and for all. Upon filing for bankruptcy protection, the automatic stay will go into effect, halting all collections efforts against you. This includes wage garnishment. Bankruptcy can also provide you the opportunity to deal with some of your debt.

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