Wage Garnishments

August 7, 2017

How to Handle a Wage Garnishment Order in New York City

Wage garnishment is the act of deducting money from an individual’s gross income. A wage garnishment order is one possible outcome of a debt collection suit. Wages may be garnished to cover private debts like credit card debt or public debt like government-backed student loans.


How Wage Garnishment Works:

If the creditor wins the case, they may obtain court permission to take a set amount of money from each of the debtor’s pay checks until the debt has been paid. Once the creditor wins, they send a wage garnishment notice to a New York City Marshal, who must serve notice to the debtor within 20 days. The debtor has twenty days to resolve the debt in some fashion. If that does not happen, the Marshal delivers the notice to the borrower’s employer. The employer then begins to send 10% of the borrower’s gross income, income before any deductions, to the Marshal.

The amount to be garnished depends on the individual’s income and the size of the debt in question:

  • If your disposable income is under $240 per week, you are exempt from debt collection and wage garnishment is impossible.
  • If your disposable income is $240 to $290 a week, the creditor may garnish 10% of your gross income or the amount over $240 a month, which is less.
  • If your disposable income is over $290 per week, the creditor may garnish the less of 10% of your gross income or 25% of your disposable income.

Finally, if your wages are being garnished for child support or spousal support, a creditor could still garnish your wages, but only up to 25% of your disposable income.


Stop Wage Garnishment:

Wage garnishment is almost impossible to stop as an individual without paying off the balance of the debt. Even if wage garnishment has already begun it may be possible to have the judgment reversed, or vacated. It done right, this reversal means that the creditor can no longer take a portion of each check. The judgment would also disappear from your credit report. If the judgment is vacated, the court could even order the creditor to return money it took to pay the debt.

If you decide not to attempt to vacate the judgment, you may ask the court to modify the garnishment. To do that, you must bring a copy of your notice to the court and file something called an order to show cause with the court clerk. The court will require an explanation of why the garnishment amount is too high. The court will also expect proof of your income, rent, utilities, and other monthly expenses.

Challenging a wage garnishment order is a complex matter than calls for expert legal help. If you are facing wage garnishment, please contact our office at 212-349-6400 to discuss your case.

Attorney Katz can be reached at (800) 251-3529