When government agencies garnish your wages, it is not a particularly pleasant experience in most cases. There are numerous reason as to why a garnishment may occur, such as failure to pay back taxes, collection of child support or inability to pay another type of debt. However, as circumstances change, so too must the garnishment in many cases.
A garnishment is an order given by a federal agency to your employer to withhold a certain portion of your paycheck each period in order to help pay off a debt you owe. The agency will generally not withhold all of your disposable pay, or what remains after your employer withholds taxes. The garnishment usually remains in effect until the full amount of the debt, or another agreed upon amount, is paid in full. Some agencies may also garnish your back account, thereby stopping any activity in the account and withdrawing the funds that are due. In some cases, you may petition the creditor or other agency to remove the garnishment due to a financial hardship.
Almost any creditor or government agency, and in some cases a landlord, can garnish your wages if you owe them money and fail to pay. While garnishment is usually a last resort because of the legal hassle, it is a process that allows the organization to make collections. Some reasons for wage garnishment include failing to pay your taxes, credit card debts or student loans. Another reason includes owing child support or alimony.
To amend is to make a change or modification to an item that already exists. In the case of a garnishment, the court or agency might amend the order if the circumstances surrounding the failure to pay or the individual changes. Any change in the terms or phrasing to the court order is to amend the garnishment.
A court or the original agency may choose to amend a garnishment if the individual loses his job, remarries or pays back a large portion of what he owes. If the debtor pays back a siginficant portion of what he owes to the IRS, creditor or other agency, then the organization may choose to have his employer withhold less from each paycheck. If the debtor can provide proof that he made an error in good faith, many agencies will choose to lessen the interest or penalty charges and amend the garnishment.
- U.S. Department of the Treasury: Debt Collection Authorities Under the Debt Collection Act of 1996
- Federal Trade Commission: Administrative Wage Garnishment
- Debt Settlement Lawyers: Who Can Garnish Wages?
- Merriam-Webster: Definition of Amend
- Department of Labor. "Garnishment." Accessed Feb. 13, 2020.
- Michigan Legal Help. "An Overview of Garnishment." Accessed Feb. 13, 2020.
- Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute. "Consumer Credit Protection Act of 1968 -15 U.S. Code § 1673.Restriction on Garnishment." Accessed Feb. 13, 2020.
- Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute. "Consumer Credit Protection Act of 1968 - 15 U.S. Code § 1672.Definitions." Accessed Feb. 13, 2020.
- Department of Labor. "Fact Sheet 30: The Federal Wage Garnishment Law, Consumer Credit Protection Act's Title III," Page 2. Accessed Feb. 13, 2020.
- United States Department of Labor. "Minimum Wage." Accessed Feb. 13, 2020.
- Department of Labor. "Fact Sheet 30: The Federal Wage Garnishment Law, Consumer Credit Protection Act's Title III," Page 3. Accessed Feb. 13, 2020.
- California Courts. "If You Do Not Pay Your Judgment." Accessed Feb. 13, 2020.
- Office of the U.S. Courts. "Discharge in Bankruptcy – Bankruptcy Basics." Accessed Feb. 13, 2020.
- Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute. "United States Bankruptcy Code - 11 U.S. Code § 523.Exceptions to Discharge." Accessed Feb. 13, 2020.
Christine Aldridge is a financial planner who has been writing articles related to personal finance since 2011. She has bachelor's degrees in political science from North Carolina State University and in accounting from University of Phoenix. Aldridge is completing her Certified Financial Planner designation via New York University.