Wage Garnishment Attorney in Fort Collins
Protect Yourself from Wage Garnishment
Creditors can take legal action against you if you have outstanding debts. If a court judgment is entered against you, the court can order wage garnishment. Wage garnishment is when the creditor tells your employer to withhold your earnings to pay back your debt. You must act quickly for garnishment protection once it has been ordered against you in Colorado.
If you are facing the threat of wage garnishment, you can count on me to stand up against the creditors on your behalf and fight to protect your rights. As an experienced Fort Collins wage garnishment lawyer, I have over a decade of experience practicing bankruptcy law and know how to handle these cases effectively.
Garnishment Limitations in Colorado
Only a limited amount of your wages can be garnished. The law offers garnishment protection for a portion of your wages so that you can still pay for living expenses. In Colorado, only up to 25% of the disposable income you earn in one week can be garnished. This rule is true even if there are multiple creditors with their own garnishment orders. “Disposable earnings” refer to your take-money pay, or the amount left over after deductions required by law, such as federal income tax, Social Security tax, and state and local taxes. Deductions taken from your paycheck for health insurance or union fees are not legally required, and these amounts are counted towards your disposable earnings.
There are special limitations if you owe child support. The amount that can be garnished depends on whether you have to support other family members or if the arrearages are over 12 weeks old.
- 50% of your disposable income is subject to garnishment if you are supporting another spouse or child.
- 60% of your disposable income is subject to garnishment if you are not supporting another spouse or child.
- An additional 5% can be garnished if there are outstanding arrearages over 12 weeks old.
If you have low income, Colorado has a calculation to determine the garnishment amount. This amount may be less than 25% of your earnings. For low-income debtors, it is a sliding scale – the lower your income, the less that is subject to garnishment.
What Happens If There Are Multiple Garnishments?
If there are multiple creditors with garnishment orders, they are generally taken in the order that the employer received them. The exception is child support – garnishment for child support always takes priority.
One way that you may be able to stop the garnishment is by filing an exemption claim with the court. Not all income can be garnished under Colorado law. After the exemptions are applied, some, if not all, of your earnings may be protected from garnishment.
Earnings that are generally exempt from garnishment include:
- Social Security benefits
- Social Security Disability benefits
- Workers’ compensation
- Pension or retirement benefits
- Unemployment insurance benefits
- Child support
- Tax refunds
Some of these types of income can be garnished for certain debts, including unpaid child support, spousal support, repayment of public assistance, or debts to certain government agencies.
It is crucial to act quickly after the judgment. You can only object to a garnishment order for a limited amount after the judgment. If you fail to object, the creditor will be able to take the money, even if the funds should be exempt. If you do object and the judge finds that an exemption applies, the garnishment amount will be reduced or eliminated.
Filing for Bankruptcy
One way you can stop wage garnishment is by filing for bankruptcy. Immediately after you file for bankruptcy, an automatic stay is put in place to stop creditors from pursuing collection — including wage garnishment. Once an automatic stay is in place, your employer must stop sending your wages to the creditor. The creditor must even return any money that was accepted after you filed for bankruptcy. Not only will bankruptcy stop wage garnishment, but some of the debts that are being collected could be discharged. Not everyone is eligible to file for bankruptcy, so it is essential to discuss this option with an attorney.
When to Contact a Fort Collins Wage Garnishment Attorney
Once you receive your court summons, you should immediately find a bankruptcy attorney skilled in garnishment protection. Action must be taken quickly to stop your wages from being garnished. If you wait until after a judgment is entered against you or until you notice 25% of your paycheck is missing, it could be too late to protect you from garnishment.
If your creditors have started to take legal action against you, I encourage you to reach out to me today. Do not sit on a garnishment order, because you could lose or limit your rights.
Give me a call at (970) 293-8371 now to get started on your case.