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Wage Garnishment: Basic Laws For All 50 States

An excerpt from Walk Away From Debt For A Better Future


This is a list of the basics for each state. Most states have more complex formulas for calculating maximum garnishment amounts. Most states allow judges to reduce garnishment below the maximum – that's one of the places the term "disposable income" comes in; one judge might think that's your free cashflow as you're living now, another judge might think it's your free cashflow after you cut back to eating rice and beans.

The laws as written are not all that charitable, though – some states' laws consider medical insurance to be "disposable income." Other states are more flexible, and Texas and Pennsylvania don't allow wage garnishment, while New Hampshire makes it hard on the creditor to get a writ.

And then in some states that have garnishment it's a lot of work for a creditor to get a writ. A good starter resource for the details of your particular state is:
http://www.small-claims-courts.com/Wage-Garnishment-Laws.html

This is somewhat spottier, but fills in some information missing from the first website:
http://www.debtsettlementlawyers.com/resources/debt-settlement/debt-collection

Federal rules, used in several states, are online in plain English at: http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs30.pdf These are worth glancing through first, because while state laws can be more lenient towards a debtor, they cannot be more strict than Federal law.

This chart is just an overview. You have to dive into your own state's laws.

StateGarnishment Law
Alabama (AL)Up to 20% of weekly net disposable income.
Alaska (AK)$402-$602 of weekly income is exempt from garnishment, then it gets more complicated.
Arizona (AZ)Up to 25% of weekly net disposable income.
Arkansas (AR)Federal garnishment rules apply.
California (CA)Up to 25% of weekly net disposable income.
Colorado (CO)Up to 75% of disposable income.
Connecticut (CT)Up to 25% of weekly disposable income.
Delaware (DE)Up to 15% of net income.
District of Columbia (DC)Up to 25% of weekly disposable income.
Florida (FL)Complicated. There is a "head of family" exemption.
Georgia (GA)Up to 25% of weekly disposable income.
Hawaii (HI)Up to 20% of weekly net disposable income.
Idaho (ID)Up to 25% of weekly disposable income.
Illinois (IL)Up to 15% of weekly disposable income.
Indiana (IN)Up to 25% of weekly disposable income.
Iowa (IA)Up to 25% of weekly disposable income.
Kansas (KS)Up to 25% of weekly disposable income.
Kentucky (KY)Up to 25% of weekly disposable income.
Louisiana (LA)Federal garnishment rules apply.
Maine (ME)Up to 25% of weekly disposable income.
Maryland (MD(Up to 25% of weekly disposable income.
Massachusetts (MA)Up to 25% of weekly disposable income.
Michigan (MI)Federal garnishment rules apply.
Minnesota (MN)Up to 25% of weekly disposable income.
Mississippi (MS)Up to 25% of weekly disposable income.
Missouri (MO)Up to 25% of weekly disposable income.
Montana (MT)Federal garnishment rules apply.
Nebraska (NB)Up to 25% of weekly disposable income.
Nevada (NV)Up to 25% of weekly disposable income.
New Hampshire (NH)Up to 25% of disposable income, writ must be renewed bi-weekly.
New Jersey (NJ)Up to 25% of weekly disposable income.
New Mexico (NM)Up to 25% of weekly disposable income.
New York (NY)Up to 10% of gross income.
North Carolina (NC)Up to 25% of weekly disposable income.
North Dakota (ND)Up to 25% of weekly disposable income.
Ohio (OH)Up to 25% of weekly disposable income.
Oklahoma (OK)Up to 25% of weekly disposable income.
Oregon (OR)Up to 25% of weekly disposable income.
Pennsylvania (PA)No wage garnishment on civil judgments; child support and taxes only.
Rhode Island (RI)Up to 25% of weekly disposable income.
South Carolina (SC)Up to 25% of weekly disposable income.
South Dakota (SD)Up to 20% of weekly disposable income; medical insurance exempt.
Tennessee (TN)At judge's discretion.
Texas (TX)No wage garnishment on civil judgments; child support and taxes only
Utah (UT)Up to 25% of weekly disposable income.
Vermont (VT)Up to 25% of weekly disposable income.
Virginia (VA)Federal garnishment rules apply.
Washington (WA)Up to 25% of weekly disposable income.
West Virginia (WV)Still looking through the laws...
Wisconsin (WI)Up to 25% of weekly disposable income.
Wyoming (WY)Up to 25% of weekly disposable income.

Important note to wage garnishment laws: wage garnishment writs can potentially cross state lines. For example, North Carolina law doesn't allow wage garnishment, but North Carolina courts will allow a garnishment order from another state to be enforced in North Carolina. This isn't as crazy as it might seem; after all, a court in New York will probably ratify a judgment from a California court to be enforced in New York state. (This flows out of "full faith and credit" constitutional law, and the NY judge may not have much option but to ratify the California judgment.)

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