Are you struggling to pay your bills? Have you been threatened by collection attempts? If you have, you should know that Texas has specific laws when it comes to wage garnishment.
In Texas, there are limits as to how much a creditor can take from your wages and for what. As a debtor in the Lone Star State, your wages should not be garnished unless it is for child support, alimony, taxes or student loans. If your wages are being garnished for other forms of debt, you may want to contact the Texas Attorney General’s Office to file a complaint.
Wage garnishments in Texas can only be ordered from a court or government agency. A collector cannot simply contact your employer to seek a garnishment. As far as limits go, currently, the laws are structured so that you should have enough money left to pay for basic living expenses:
- For child support, up to 50 percent of your disposable earnings may be garnished. These are earnings left after employer and federal deductions (such as taxes or medical insurance payments).
- For student loans, the S. Department of Education can garnish your wages without getting a court order through a process known as administrative garnishment. The cap for student loan garnishment is 15 percent of a debtor’s disposable income.
- The federal government can garnish your wages to collect back taxes without a court judgment. The amount they can garnish depends on how many dependents you have and how much debt you owe.
In addition to these forms of debt, you should be aware that if you have debts originating from other states, there is a possibility that you could have your wages garnished if a court rules against you, even though you live in Texas.
How Can a Bankruptcy Help Me Avoid Wage Garnishment?
While Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcies may not eliminate all of the debts listed above, they can help you reduce other forms of debt that may make payments easier, helping you avoid potential wage garnishment. Although child support is not dischargeable through bankruptcy, certain types of taxes are. Additionally, there have been cases where people have gotten portions of their student loans discharged through bankruptcy.
Thankfully, bankruptcy laws exist to allow people who have reached financially unstable positions to eliminate or reduce debts such as credit card debt and medical bills. Additionally, bankruptcy laws allow for an automatic stay, which freezes collection attempts and ends creditor harassment. If you are on the verge of having your wages garnished, speak to our bankruptcy attorneys about how a potential filing can help you.
Julian, Crowder & Shuster, P.C. – Lewisville Bankruptcy Attorneys