How badly does wage garnishment affect my income?

If you are behind on child support or spousal support, you might have received warnings that garnishment action could follow. Maybe you even wondered if you could volunteer for wage garnishments to reduce the likelihood of falling behind on payments. Whatever the reason, garnishments may lead to big deductions from your income.

When you and your ex come to an agreement, the amount might add up to a much smaller figure than when courts intervene without your cooperation. However, this depends on whether the court believes your proposal seems fair.

What is a wage garnishment?

This describes the execution of a court order that tells a bank or employer to withhold money from income paid or received on your behalf. U.S. News adds that only a court may order garnishments of your wages. However, injured parties, such as an ex, may petition the court to get the garnishment underway.

How much can courts garnish?

Children are expensive to raise and courts garnish wages accordingly. You could lose as much as 65% of your paycheck to child support garnishments, under federal law. Some states do put protection in place to limit this, so you have a livable income.

What if this is not my only garnishment?

If you have multiple garnishments for different reasons, things can become even more complex. The party executing the garnishment must determine which ones take priority. More often than not, child support and payments to the IRS take precedence.

If you experience wage garnishment and disagree with the amount withdrawn, you might come to a better agreement with your ex or the court. How behind you are on payments could play a role. The court might require that you pay up a certain portion of the past-due amounts before negotiating.