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Individuals who owe money to banks, government agencies, or other lenders may be compelled to pay back the amount owed through a judicial process known as wage garnishment. While your state or employer’s procedures may vary slightly, here is a general overview of the wage garnishment process.

Lender Seeking Repayment

If a governmental agency or court is owed money, the creditor has the legal right to seek repayment by receiving a portion of an employee’s earnings. This is known as wage garnishment, and it is a mechanized process through which the creditor is paid back in recurring amounts from the debtor’s paycheck while the debtor is still allowed to continue working and earning a living. The U.S. Department of Labor determines the maximum percentages a creditor may ask for during the garnishment process.

Logistics of Garnishment

The paperwork requirements differ from state to state, but most garnishment procedures follow the same basic process. First, the creditor files a petition with the court noting the non-payment of debt. Second, the judge grants a formal order that compels the debtor’s employer to take a percentage of the debtor’s paycheck and send it to the creditor. Finally, the creditor must get in touch with the employer and ensure that the garnishment process begins via company payroll.

Bankruptcy’s Role

If you are in danger of wage garnishment, consult a bankruptcy attorney as soon as possible. Certain debts such as back taxes and unpaid credit card bills may be discharged through a Chapter 7 proceeding. However, judicial orders for child support, alimony, or criminal judgments generally cannot be adjusted during the bankruptcy process.

Illinois residents curious about their state’s garnishment process should consult the legal team at Cutler & Associates for more information. Our experienced lawyers will listen to your case and help determine whether any pre-garnishment options can help save your paycheck.