Rather than hound you for payments, creditors can get court orders that direct your employer to deduct a percentage from your salary and pay it directly to them. This process is called wage garnishment. Georgia law sets limits to the amount your employer can deduct. Your remaining salary must be enough to pay for your living expenses. If it’s not enough to pay for your expenses, you can ask the court to reconsider the wage garnishment ruling.
When you receive a wage garnishment court notification, you’ll have 30 days to file an objection. The objection form typically comes with the notice, but you can request one from the court clerk. The notice includes information about the last date for submitting your objection, the location where you must submit the form, and the date, location and time when the court will hear your objection. The notice also lets you know if your objection must be in writing and the information you need to include in your objection.
Your objection needs to contain complete details, such as the case number and its title, such as ABC Financiers vs. Jane Doe. Also, include the date, your name and contact details, and sign the form. State the reasons you qualify for exemption from the garnishment. Filing for bankruptcy and previously clearing the debt are some valid reasons for objecting to a wage garnishment. Even if you don’t state your reasons when you complete the form, the objection is still valid. File the objection document with the court that issued the garnishment notice. You’ll receive a hearing notice, which will tell you when you need to go to court.
You can only object to the amounts cited in the garnishment when you present your case in court. This is not the time to object to the validity of the garnishment. If you don’t have enough income to pay for the garnishment and your expenses, present financial documents, including your pay stubs and bank account statements. If the court accepts your claims, it may choose to lower the garnished amount or cancel it totally. If you don’t bring proof of your financial situation, you'll have to pay the specified amounts.
Georgia laws prohibit creditors from claiming more than 25 percent of your net income after standard deductions, which include Social Security, your share of state unemployment compensation insurance, and applicable state, local and federal taxes. If your remaining income is less than 30 times the federal minimum wage, your creditors can’t get a garnishment.
In addition to unpaid taxes and student loans, if you owe child support payments, your creditors can request garnishment without getting a court order. You can avoid wage garnishments by negotiating a payment plan to pay off your debt. Creditors might agree to waive interest and fees, and allow you to pay a reduced amount. Also, a court order obligates your employer to deduct the garnishment amount from your wages, but this can be a burden for your employer. Per Georgia laws, your employer can’t fire you simply because you have one wage garnishment. The law doesn’t protect you if several creditors get court orders to garnish your salary. In this case, your employer can skip the hassle and just fire you.