Our New Jersey Debt Relief Lawyer Explains Wage Execution

A common tactic used by creditors attempting to collect money from you is to attach your wages, forcing you to pay them out of every paycheck. This and a bank levy are the two most commonly used tools in a creditor's toolbox. As an experienced New Jersey debt relief lawyer, I can explain your rights if a creditor attempts to attach your pay and how much to expect to be taken from each pay.

How Much Wages a Creditor Can Take

A wage execution in New Jersey, also known as wage garnishment, is a legal process used by creditors to collect debts directly from your salary or wages to pay a debt. In this process, a portion of your earnings is withheld by your employer and sent directly to the creditor or the entity owed money. This process is governed by federal and state laws, including limits on how much of an employee's wages can be garnished.

There is a cap on what can be collected from each pay packet. This cap consists of the lowest amount of:

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

These caps are set by New Jersey law, but judges have the discretion to lessen the withholding after a hearing. The specifics can vary depending on the nature of the debt, the amount, and individual circumstances, so it's essential to consult with a debt relief attorney for personal advice.

Can There Be More Than One Wage Execution?

There can only be one wage execution at a time. If you already have one in place (e.g., for alimony or child support) 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.

Types of Income That Cannot Be Garnished

Specific streams of income cannot be attached. Under New Jersey's wage garnishment laws, these include:

  • Social Security benefits
  • Unemployment benefits
  • VA benefits
  • Pension
  • Child support

That income is safe if any of these is your income source. If a creditor attaches to these wages, you must object to it.

What You Can Do

There are only two things you can do if you get a Notice of Wage Garnishment:

Fight the Levy

There are defenses to a wage execution, but fighting one is not for the faint of heart. If this is the only debt out of hand, you might want to seek assistance fighting the levy and reaching a deal with the creditor.

Getting the debt under control will make your life much easier and eliminate stress. As a former creditor's attorney, I have helped many people deal with situations like this by negotiating on their behalf.

If you want more information on how to fight back with your creditors, download my free book, The Biggest Secrets Your Creditors Don't Want You to Know. Become empowered and protect your rights.

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

File Bankruptcy

But if this debt is not the only one, and your overall debt is becoming out of control, you may wonder whether you need a solution to a bigger problem.

If you want to find out, download my free book, Am I In Too Deep? A Guide to Knowing When You Need to File Bankruptcy in New Jersey to help you decide. 

If you have already decided that you need to file for bankruptcy, or have discovered this from reading my book, are ready to take action, and you live in Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Salem, or Cumberland County, then call me right away at 856-432-4113 to schedule a free consultation in my Woodbury office.

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