Understanding Georgia's wage garnishment laws: Everything you need to know

June 21, 2024

Wage garnishment is a legal process, typically court ordered for the purpose of making debt collection simpler for creditors. Let’s find out everything there is to know about it.

What is wage garnishment?

Wage garnishment is also popularly referred to as wage attachment, is a process by which creditors try to get their debt repayments. This means that in cases where the court has issued a money judgment, your employer can be approached by creditors to withhold a part of your payment and forward it to them instead.

Specifics of the wage garnishment laws in Georgia

The following are some specifics about Georgia wage garnishment laws  which debtors and creditors ought to know to maintain transparency.

Are there any time limits?

Georgia law does not provide any time limits for the enforcement of the wage garnishment laws. However, if certain debts are time-barred, then the creditors may not be able to obtain a wage garnishment order from the court once the statute of limitations hits.

For what kinds of debts can wage garnishment occur?

Wage garnishment cannot be used for all kinds of debts at all times, however, the most common types of debts for which your wages can be garnished include the following:

  • -Child support debts
  • -Alimony
  • -Federal student loans taken for the completion of education
  • -Federal as well as state taxes that have not been paid

-Any other kind of loans for which the court has passed a judgment in favor of wage garnishment. This could include things like repayment of bills or personal loans.

What is the process of wage garnishment?

The typical process of wage garnishment begins when the creditor of the debt approaches a court to get a wage garnishment order. When the legal process is completed and a garnishment order is received, it will be directly enforced through the employer of the debtor. The employer would now be liable to withhold the particular amount or percentage of the debtor’s salary and issue it to the creditor instead.

 

However, certain types of loans or debts such as federal student loans, child support, and alimony debts do not require a court order wage garnishment order, and can be directly enforced.

How does wage garnishment impact employers and employees?

Historically, wage garnishment has had the impact of leading some employers to choose to terminate employees that have a wage garnishment order rather than complying with the order. This is because complying with the order proved to be more of a challenge than most cared to tackle. So, in order to save employees from this issue, federal law was reformed to dictate that an employer cannot terminate an employee who has one wage garnishment order against them. However, if there are more than one such orders, then the employer can still choose to terminate the employee.

Are there exceptions to the wage garnishment laws in Georgia?

Yes, there are a few types of funds which are exempt from wage garnishment in Georgia including:

  • -Social security benefits
  • -Retirement benefits
  • -Disability funds
  • -Unemployment compensation
  • -VA benefits
  • -State welfare benefits
  • -Pensions.

How can you stop wage garnishment in Georgia?

If you wish to stop your wage garnishment, you can try a few of the following strategies:

  • -Firstly, you can challenge the judgment issued or claim an exemption.
  • -You can file for bankruptcy as per chapter 13 of the bankruptcy code.
  • -You can try renegotiating the terms of the loan with the creditor to buy more time or reduce the monthly payments.

 

Conclusion

Wage garnishment can be a hassle for debtors and for their employers. However, when in Georgia, it is essential to perform the wage garnishment obligations, or challenge the same if you find them unfair.

 

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