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What is a wage execution in New Jersey?

A common tactic used by creditors attempting to collect money from you is to attach your wages, which essentially forces you to make a payment to them out of every pay check.  This, along with a bank levy, are the two most commonly used tools in a creditor's toolbox.  There are three things to bear in mind should a creditor attempt to attach your pay in New Jersey.

The Levy Cap

First, there is a cap on what can be collected out of each pay.  This cap consists of the lowest amount of:

  • 10% of your gross wages
  • 25% of your net wages
  • the amount by which your gross wages exceeds $217.50 per week

These caps are set by New Jersey law, and judges must follow them, but sometimes a judge will bend the rules and lessen the withholding after a hearing.

Only One at a Time

Second, you can only have one wage execution at a time.  If you already have one in place when another creditor comes along, then that second levy does not get added to the first.

On the other hand, that does not mean that the levy goes away; that creditor simply gets in line behind the first and waits for that one to be paid in full.  Creditors can, in effect, line up at the payroll office waiting to get paid on a first come, first served basis.

Not Every Income Can Be Attached

Third, there are certain streams of income that cannot be attached, such as Social Security benefits, VA benefits, etc.  If that is your sole source of income due to retirement or disability, then that income is safe.

So What Do I Do?

There are defenses to a wage execution, but fighting one is not for the faint of heart. If this is the only debt that is out of hand, then you might want to consider seeking assistance in fighting the levy and reaching a deal with the creditor. Getting the debt under control will certainly make your life much easier and eliminate the stress. As a former creditor's attorney I have helped many people deal with situations like this by negotiating on their behalf.

If you live in southern New Jersey and would like my assistance, feel free to call my office at 856-432-4113 or contact me through this site to schedule an appointment in my Woodbury office.

But if this debt is not the only one, and you are wondering whether you need a solution to a bigger problem, then download my free book, Am I In Too Deep? A Guide to Knowing When You Need to File Bankruptcy in New Jersey to find out if bankruptcy might be the right solution.  You could also just give me a call and come in to discuss it further!

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Steven J. Richardson
Bankruptcy, Collections, Student Loan, DUI and Traffic Court attorney in Woodbury, NJ.