For most citizens of Texas, the thought of creditors taking money directly from your salary is quite scary. If you have credit card debt, owe child support, student loans, or taxes, you are at risk of wage garnishment. Wage garnishments can result in severe financial distress for many people, if you owe taxes to the IRS, the wage garnishment amounts may be substantial.
If you are in debt or believe you are at risk of a wage garnishment, it is important that you speak with an experienced wage garnishment defense lawyer. A lawyer can help you get a better understanding of wage garnishment laws, assess whether you are at risk, and try to prevent your wages from being garnished. You will need the help of an experienced attorney when fighting against wage garnishment, which is why we recommend you enlist Ronald Arthur Stearns Sr. PLLC as your legal counsel.
Ronald Arthur Stearns Sr. PLLC
Ronald Arthur Stearns Sr. PLLC has been helping the citizens of Texas with all issues related to tax, debts, audits, and litigation for over 26 years. He has a deep understanding of financial law and he knows how to fight against creditors who try to garnish borrowers’ wages.
Ronald Arthur Stearns Sr. PLLC is fully committed to protecting taxpayers in Texas, and he has never represented the IRS. He has seen first-hand how creditors, banks, and financial institutions treat taxpayers unfairly, and he has dedicated his career to protecting citizens’ rights.
Through his hard work and dedication, he has built up a strong attorney-client relationship, which means that you can rely on him for any legal services you need. In addition, he is recognized by the American Bar Association and the State Bar of Texas and has received multiple honors during his education. He will use his skill set and experience to fight aggressively against wage garnishment on your behalf.
Call his law firm today at 210-853-2135 to schedule a consultation.
What is Wage Garnishment?
Wage garnishments are a court order sent from a creditor to a borrower’s employer requiring an unpaid debt to be taken out of their salary each month. When an employer receives this order from a creditor, they must withhold the specified amount of money from their employee’s paycheck and send this to the creditor. This way, a creditor obtains money directly from your salary and you are unable to access these funds.
In the majority of cases, a debt collector or creditor must get a court order to engage in wage garnishment. However, when it comes to the IRS and some tax-collection agencies, they may not require a court order to garnish wages for unpaid taxes. The amount they can take from your salary is unlimited, however, they will usually base it on your dedication rate and the number of dependents that you have.
Texas Law on Wage Garnishment
Wage garnishment in Texas is strictly regulated and has some of the strictest wage garnishment laws in the country. As such, it can be quite difficult for creditors to garnish your wages, unless they have court orders to do so. The law limits wage garnishments to child support, taxes, federal student loans, and alimony or spousal maintenance payments. As such, wage garnishment for personal loans, medical debt, auto loans, credit card debt, and other types of consumer debt is not permitted.
If a creditor can get a court order to garnish your wages for an unpaid student loan, for example, the money will be withheld from your bank account each month.
Texas law puts a limit on the amount of money that a creditor can legally take from your salary, depending on the type of debt that you owe. There are also federal law limits in place that prevent creditors from taking significant amounts of money from your salary each month, which would make it difficult to live. The limit under federal law is 30 times the minimum wage or 25% of your net earnings, depending on which is lower in your case.
Limits For Child Support, Federal Student Loans, and Unpaid Taxes
In addition to the federal law limits in place for wage garnishment, there are also Texas law limits when it comes to child support, student loans, and unpaid taxes. When it comes to these types of debts, Texas law states that creditors and the government can garnish your wages and bank accounts without a court order. Because there is no court order required for this type of garnishment, there are certain limits in place.
In Texas, child support court orders are accompanied by an automatic income withholding order. If you do not pay your child support payments, you could be faced with a wage garnishment order from the child’s other parent. The limits placed on support orders are:
- Up to 50% of your disposable income if you are currently supporting another child or spouse separate from this order.
- Up to 60% of your disposable earnings if you are not supporting another child or spouse.
The same limits apply to spousal support or domestic support obligations that are subject to a court order, meaning 50% of your earnings could be garnished with a spousal support order.
When it comes to federal student loans, there is a limit of 15% placed on your earnings for wage garnishment or 30 times the minimum wage per week. If you default on a student loan, the U.S. Department of Education or collection agency on their behalf may be entitled to garnish your wages without a court order.
Because unpaid taxes are dealt with by the IRS and the United States Government, different rules apply. If you owe taxes to the government, they can garnish your wages without a court order. The limit placed on the amount they can garnish is based on your standard deduction rate and whether you have any dependent children or spouses. In some cases, the state government can garnish your wages when it comes to unpaid local governments and state taxes, however, they do not have the same protections as the federal government.
It is important to note that any debtor or the government cannot garnish social security payments or money that goes to pay child support or spousal support.
Can My Employer Fire Me For Wage Garnishment?
When you have money coming out of your paycheck each month due to a wage garnishment order, the responsibility is on your employer to withhold the money from the paycheck and forward it to the creditor. As such, employers can get quite frustrated with the extra responsibility and you may be worried as to whether they can terminate your contract over this.
The Consumer Credit Protection Act provides that employers are prohibited from firing an employee if they have one wage garnishment coming from their paycheck. However, they reserve the right to fire you if you have two or more wage garnishments coming from your paycheck. So, if you have received just one wage garnishment order, then your employer cannot legally fire you.
When it comes to wage garnishment orders, debtors are limited in their options to prevent it from happening. The first option is to negotiate with the creditor to try and arrange a payment plan that works for you as an alternative to wage garnishment. However, creditors care only about getting their debt paid, and they do not care about whether you will have money problems and life difficulties with a wage garnishment order. It is important that you hire an attorney that is skilled at negotiating before speaking with a creditor.
If possible, you also may be able to pay the debt you owe through a lump sum, provided that you are able to get the money. However, for many people, this is not an option, as they may have to take out another loan to finance this lump sum.
The final option is filing for bankruptcy. When you file for bankruptcy, an automatic stay is put on all of your earnings and bank accounts. With this automatic stay, creditors are prohibited from collecting debts from you and will be unable to go ahead with wage garnishment. Because of this, it can be an effective way to prevent your wages from being garnished.
However, there are many negative consequences that come with filing for bankruptcy, and you could face major difficulties down the line if you try to apply for another loan or start a business. As such, it is important to speak with an experienced bankruptcy attorney, such as Ronald Arthur Stearns Sr. PLLC, before filing for bankruptcy.
Contact Ronald Arthur Stearns Sr. PLLC – Texas Wage Garnishment Defense Lawyer!
Texas wage garnishment laws are some of the strictest in the country, meaning that your wages are protected from creditors and debt collectors in most cases. However, there are some instances in which your wages can be garnished, including unpaid taxes, child support, student loans, and with a court order. The best way to stop wage garnishment is to enlist the help of an experienced wage garnishment defense attorney.
If you are the subject of a wage garnishment order or suspect you have been treated unfairly by a creditor, you should contact Ronald Arthur Stearns Sr. PLLC as soon as possible. He has been helping clients stop wage garnishment in Texas for over 26 years and he will do everything he can to protect your legal rights. He knows which legal protections you are entitled to under Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 of the Texas bankruptcy laws, and he will build a defense for you based on the circumstances of your case.
It is important to act fast in wage garnishment cases to prevent going into financial distress.
Contact Ronald Arthur Stearns Sr. PLLC today at 210-853-2135 to discuss your case.