Getting your wages garnished is no one’s idea of a picnic, no matter what state you reside in. The good news is that Missouri garnishment laws give you a little more protection than federal laws. The bad news is you could still wind up giving up more than half of your check.
A Quarter for Creditors
Creditors need a court judgment to file a garnishment to pay down certain types of debts. These debts include overdue credit cards, unpaid hospital bills and the balance due if your car is repossessed but isn't worth enough to pay off the auto loan. Once a judgment is filed, your employer has to withhold a percentage of your check and that money goes to a creditor. Missouri caps that withholding at 25 percent of the check.
A Lot More for Child Support
The Show Me State doesn't need a court judgment to garnish your wages if you skip on paying child support. Furthermore, the state can take up to 65 percent of the check according to Castle Law Office, a firm licensed to practice law in Missouri. Don't count on unemployment status to get you out of your obligation. If you're taking the state's unemployment benefits, Missouri will just take your child support out of that.
Skip out on paying a student loan backed by the federal government, or miss nine months of payments, and your paycheck may take a hit. You'll get a 30-day notice to let you know your employer is about to start deducting up to 15 percent of your wages from each check. This expensive lesson may occur on student loans taken from banks in Missouri, too. School loan lenders not backed by the federal government must sue you and win a judgment before they can dip into your paycheck.
Be Truthful or Be Garnished
Missouri, like every other state, has its unemployment benefits set up to get people through rough times. The state doesn't take it lightly if it finds out someone used fraudulent information to take its money. First, the state will demand repayment. If the person doesn't do that on his own, then the state can take a portion of any wages he might have. If that fails, the state will file legal charges against the culprit.
Nancy Wagner is a marketing strategist and speaker who started writing in 1998. She writes business plans for startups and established companies and teaches marketing and promotional tactics at local workshops. Wagner's business and marketing articles have appeared in "Home Business Journal," "Nation’s Business," "Emerging Business" and "The Mortgage Press," among others. She holds a B.S. from Eastern Illinois University.