Just about everyone would agree that declaring bankruptcy is a difficult decision. That is why many people struggling with debt continue to hold out even after all their other alternatives have been exhausted. Facing wage garnishment for unpaid bills is one of the surest signs that it is time to consider bankruptcy. Going through the bankruptcy process can stop wage garnishment and ultimately discharge the underlying debt.
Your wages can be garnished for unpaid taxes, child support and other obligations, or after a creditor has sued you in court and obtained a judgment against you for an unpaid debt. In the latter case, if you do not pay the debt once the judgment is entered, the creditor may ask to have your wages garnished, up to the lesser of the following amounts provided in the Georgia Code:
- Up to 25 percent of your disposable earrings
- The amount by which your weekly disposable earnings exceed 30 times the federal minimum wage, currently $217.50
Your disposable earnings are your gross wages minus legally required deductions for taxes. This definition is different from the federal bankruptcy code’s, which also includes allowable deductions for reasonable living expenses. What this means is that a creditor can force your employer to withhold up to a quarter of your take-home pay every week until the debt is repaid.
Making ends meet with these restrictions can be nearly impossible and force already struggling people even deeper into debt. If you are facing wage garnishment for an unpaid judgment, it may be time to sit down with one of our Georgia bankruptcy lawyers to weigh your options.