Protecting Paychecks in Omaha and Throughout Nebraska
When creditors become convinced that you cannot pay a debt, they may pursue legal action against you. If they win a collection lawsuit, they may be able to secure a money judgment and garnish your wages.
Losing a portion of your wages to creditors will likely make your financial difficulties even worse, but our Lincoln wage garnishment lawyer is prepared to help protect your paycheck. By filing for bankruptcy, you can stop all pending or ongoing wage garnishments and get the relief you need to reorganize your finances and discharge debts. You may also be able to recover some of what was taken from you. Our team at Lentz Law can offer the guidance you need to navigate this challenging moment and will work with you to explore and explain all available options.
When someone garnishes your wages, they require your employer to carve out and redirect a set percentage of your regular paycheck. This garnished amount goes toward paying an outstanding debt, and your paycheck will continue to be garnished until the debt is paid in full.
Most creditors need a judgment from a court before they can garnish your wages. To obtain a judgment, they will need to file a lawsuit against you that alleges you have failed to pay a debt. If you legitimately owe the debt, you will most likely lose the lawsuit. However, you will have some notice that your creditor is seeking a wage garnishment and will consequently have time to respond.
Some creditors, including the government, do not need to file a lawsuit or procure a judgment before garnishing your wages. If you owe back taxes or federal student loan payments, the government can automatically garnish your wages. Similarly, your ex-spouse can more efficiently garnish your wages if you are behind on child support or alimony payments.
There are limits to the extent creditors can garnish your wages. Creditors can only garnish disposable wages, for example. Your disposable wages refer to all wages left over after you deduct certain qualifying expenses.
In Nebraska, most private creditors can garnish up to 25% of your disposable wages or the amount by which your wages exceed 30 times the federal minimum wage, whichever amount is smaller. They may be only able to garnish 15% of your wages if you are considered the “head of a family,” which is someone who cares and provides for at least one familial dependent.
An ex-spouse can garnish up to 60% of your wages for missed child support payments if you are not currently providing for another spouse or child. (If you are supporting another spouse or child, they can still garnish up to 50%.) If you are more than 12 weeks behind, an ex-spouse can garnish an additional 5%.
You will want to do everything you can to avoid wage garnishments of any kind. While federal law prevents your employer from firing you due to having to deal with a wage garnishment, you will have no protection from termination if multiple wage garnishments are being simultaneously enforced. Our Lincoln wage garnishment attorney is committed to helping you avoid these outcomes.
He was there when I needed him through my tough times over the past few years.Tonia A.
If your wages are being garnished, there is a good chance you are drowning in debt. Bankruptcy can provide the tools you need to stop wage garnishments and eliminate unsecured debts.
Simply filing for bankruptcy can facilitate immediate and powerful relief. When you file for bankruptcy, you become protected by the automatic stay, a court order that stops all collection actions. Once the automatic stay is in effect, all ongoing wage garnishments must cease, and any imminent or pending wage garnishments cannot move forward until the order is lifted.
You may also be able to get some of your hard-earned money back. There is a provision in the Bankruptcy Code that allows you to recover involuntary transfers of your property – including wages – to your creditor, so long as these transfers exceed $600 in value to a single creditor. When you file for bankruptcy, we can demand the return of money involved in transfers that meet this requirement.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be the best choice if you have little to no current income. The Chapter 7 process involves liquidating non-exempt assets, but do not worry: You can exempt many types of assets. If you still have substantial disposable income, you may need to consider Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which skips liquidation and instead requires you to commit to a repayment plan that lasts between 3 and 5 years. If you are a farmer, Chapter 12 bankruptcy may be right for you.
You will generally be able to discharge unsecured debts after completing a Chapter 7, Chapter 12, or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. This means you will be able to eliminate any remaining credit card debt, medical debt, personal loans, and unpaid utility bills.
If your wage garnishments were linked to unsecured debts, your creditors will no longer be able to take a portion of your paycheck. Bankruptcy can still provide tremendous relief if your garnishments are tied to secured debts, however. By discharging unsecured debts, you should have more financial resources to put toward catching up on other debts.
At Lentz Law, we take great pride in helping our clients overcome seemingly insurmountable financial difficulties. No matter how dire your circumstances may seem, our Lincoln wage garnishment lawyer can provide the support and resources you need to leverage the bankruptcy process and eliminate debt.