Stopping Wage Garnishment in New York
Strategic Queens debt relief attorney helps clients halt wage garnishment
Wage garnishment is a powerful debt-collection remedy with harsh consequences for consumers. It means a creditor can take a cut of your paycheck before the money ever arrives in your bank account. Mark E. Cohen, Esq. in Forest Hills, Queens is an experienced New York wage garnishment lawyer representing clients throughout the state. I can prepare a legal strategy designed to prevent creditors from cutting into your future paychecks.
What is wage garnishment?
Wage garnishment occurs when a court orders your employer to withhold a portion of your paycheck and redirect the wages to a creditor. A creditor can obtain a wage garnishment order, also called an income execution order, by establishing in court that you owe a debt.
Common reasons for wage garnishment
Defaults in the following types of debt often lead to wage garnishment:
- Student loans
- Medical debt
- Credit card debt
- Child support
If you receive a wage garnishment notice, contact a debt relief attorney immediately to find out your options.
How does wage garnishment work in New York?
Private creditors, such as credit card companies, must win a judgment in a debt collection lawsuit before seeking to garnish your wages. No court judgment is required if the debts are unpaid taxes, student loans or child support arrears.
The creditor must have an income execution order signed by a New York county clerk or city marshal, who must notify you of the order within 20 days. You then have 20 days to negotiate a voluntary payment plan. If you are not able to negotiate a plan or you make no attempt at negotiation, the income execution order will be served to your employer.
New York State limits the percentage of your wages that can be withheld and sent to a creditor. The lesser of 10 percent of gross income or 25 percent of disposable income is the most that can be garnished for most debts. However, significantly higher percentages of disposable income can be garnished for child support arrears. The employer will redirect the order’s designated percentage of your wages to the creditor for each pay period until the debt is satisfied.
Exemptions from wage garnishment in New York
In New York, an income execution order cannot be entered against a person whose disposable weekly income is less than 30 times the state or federal hourly minimum wage.
State law also exempts these forms of income from garnishment:
- Employer benefits
- Social security
- Public assistance
- Retirement savings
- Unemployment insurance
- Workers’ compensation
- Spousal support and child support payments
I can assist you in determining whether the wage garnishment in your case violates state law to any degree.
How wage garnishment can be stopped in New York?
Once an income execution order is in effect, you may pursue these remedies:
- Ask the court to vacate the order — An income execution order may be vacated if you were not properly notified of the legal proceedings against you or if you do not actually owe a debt. If an order is vacated, the wage garnishment is halted and can be removed from your credit report.
- Seek a modification to the garnishment order — If you cannot afford to part with the amount of wages being taken from your paycheck, you may ask the court to modify the garnishment so that a lesser percentage of wages is withheld over a longer period.
- File for Chapter 7 bankruptcy — When you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, an automatic stay goes into place that stops wage garnishment. The stay remains in force throughout the bankruptcy case. Many debts can be discharged in Chapter 7, though some, like child support, cannot.
As a dedicated Queens Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney, I help my clients determine the best wage garnishment defensive strategies for the circumstances presented.