Once you start to accumulate debt, it is often difficult to dig your way out of it. If you have a debt with a particular creditor and fail to pay it, that creditor may sue you. If the creditor wins in court, your employer may have to garnish some of your wages to pay back what you owe. Having a portion of your wages garnished may be embarrassing, and it may also make it hard for you to cover rent, your mortgage or other necessary expenses.
Per NerdWallet, once your employer begins garnishing some of your wages, it typically must continue to do so until your creditor receives what you owe in full. How much of your paycheck do you stand to lose to wage garnishment?
A substantial percentage
When you have your wages garnished because of unresolved consumer debt, such as an unpaid credit card bill, medical bill or personal loan, there are limitations to how much your employer may withhold per week. You stand to lose either 25% of your paycheck or the amount by which your weekly income exceeds 30 times the current federal minimum wage. Whichever amount is lower is the amount you should expect to lose each week to wage garnishment.
A possible alternative
When your debts become so large that there is no realistic way for you to pay them back within a few years, you may consider filing for bankruptcy. When you do so, something called the automatic stay takes effect. During the automatic stay period, which typically remains in effect while your bankruptcy case is ongoing, your employer must stop garnishing your wages.
It is also worth noting that your employer may not terminate you the first time a creditor garnishes some of your wages. However, this is no longer true if it happens more than once.