Helbing Law Office Logo by Timothy Helbing located in Appleton, WI serving chapter 7 and chapter 13 bankruptcy

Understanding Wage Garnishment in Wisconsin: Protecting Yourself During Financial Hardship

Many Wisconsin residents are facing financial difficulties, struggling to make ends meet even with employment. This situation can lead to debt collection tactics like wage garnishment, which can further strain your finances. Understanding the process and your available defenses is crucial.

What is Wage Garnishment?

Wage garnishment allows a creditor with a court judgment against you to collect unpaid debts directly from your paycheck. This occurs after the creditor obtains a court order confirming your debt and files a garnishment notice.

The Garnishment Process:

  1. Court Judgment: The creditor sues you and obtains a court judgment for the owed amount.
  2. Garnishment Notice: The creditor files a garnishment notice with the court, initiating the wage withholding process.
  3. Service of Papers: You and your employer receive legal documents explaining the garnishment, your rights, and an option to file an answer contesting the garnishment.
  4. Debtor’s Response: You have the right to file an answer claiming exemptions or disputing the debt’s validity. If no response is filed, the garnishment proceeds.
  5. Wage Withholding: Your employer starts withholding a portion of your wages, typically lasting 13 weeks, unless both parties agree to extend.

Defending Against Garnishment:

Wisconsin law protects a portion of your income from garnishment:

  • Maximum Withholding: Generally, creditors can only garnish 20% of your net pay and only one creditor at a time.
  • Poverty Exemption: If your household income falls below the federal poverty level, your wages are fully exempt.
  • Partial Exemption: If garnishment would push your income below the poverty line, only the excess amount is subject to withholding.
  • Public Assistance: Individuals receiving or approved for public assistance within six months are automatically exempt.

Seeking Legal Help:

While these exemptions offer protection, debt issues can be overwhelming. Consider these options:

  • Consult an attorney: An experienced Wisconsin debt relief attorney can advise you on your specific situation and explore options like debt negotiation or bankruptcy, which can offer a fresh financial start.
  • Credit counseling: Non-profit credit counseling agencies can provide guidance on managing debt and creating a budget.

Remember, facing wage garnishment doesn’t have to be a solitary battle. Resources and legal support from Helbing Law Office are available to help you navigate these challenges and regain financial stability. Get in touch with Timothy Helbing today.

Send A Message

Fields marked with an * are required

Disclaimer: The use of the internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

Share the Post:

Related Posts: