November 01, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Wage Garnishment in Massachusetts
If you have ever fallen behind on payments of a credit card or other debt, you may have received notices from creditors or debt collectors. You may have been tempted to avoid opening them or paying them to buy yourself some time to get the needed funds. However, eventually your creditors will catch up with you and they may employ a powerful tool to force you to make payments: wage garnishment.
About Wage Garnishment
Wage garnishment is an order from a court or government agency that is sent to your employer ordering them to withhold a percentage of money from your paycheck to pay your creditors. As in just about every other state, in Massachusetts a creditor generally must first obtain a judgment against you saying that you owe the money before the creditor may seek an order for garnishment. However, a creditor does not have to obtain a judgment to collect the following types of debt:
-unpaid income taxes
-child support arrears
-student loans in default
To ensure that you are left with enough money to live on, Massachusetts limits the maximum amount that a creditor may garnish from your wages. Under Massachusetts law, a creditor cannot garnish more than the lesser of:
-15 percent of your gross wages--your wage before taxes and other deductions.
-50 times the federal or Massachusetts hourly minimum wage (whichever is greater)
It is important to note that these limits on garnishment do not apply to garnishments for domestic support (i.e. alimony or child support). In addition, the limits apply to multiple orders for garnishment. In other words, only one creditor at a time may garnish your wages, assuming that the one creditor is garnishing your wages at the legal limits.
The best way to prevent garnishment is to stop it before it happens. If you fall behind on your bills, it may be a good idea to contact your creditors to attempt to negotiate lower payments or a lower interest rate on your debt.
If renegotiating your debt fails, your wages cannot be garnished until you have been sued, in most cases. If you receive a notice of a lawsuit or pending judgment, contact an experienced attorney who can represent you in the lawsuit and work with the creditor on your behalf.
In most cases, doing nothing will result in a judgment by default against you, which may lead to an order of garnishment of your wages. In addition to assisting you with a lawsuit, an attorney can advise you of your debt relief options and recommend one that will fit your particular situation.
Article provided by Nashawaty & Rand
Visit us at http://www.greaterbostonlaw.com---
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