November 23, 2021

Santa Ana Wage Garnishment Lawyer/Attorney

Thomas K. McKnight -

Wage Garnishment Lawyer/Attorney in Santa Ana

Understanding Wage Garnishment

Wage garnishment is a legal process in which a portion of an individual's earnings is withheld by their employer to satisfy a debt obligation. This process is typically initiated by a court order or government agency, compelling the employer to deduct a specified amount from the employee's paycheck and remit it directly to the creditor.

Wage garnishment is not a sudden occurrence; it follows a defined legal process:

1. Creditor Action:

   - A creditor, after obtaining a judgment against an individual for an outstanding debt, may seek wage garnishment as a means of collecting the owed amount.

2. Court Order:

   - The creditor files a lawsuit, and if successful, the court issues an order for wage garnishment. This order is then provided to the employer, who is legally obligated to comply.

3. Employer Compliance:

   - Upon receiving the court order, the employer is required to withhold the specified amount from the employee's paycheck and send it directly to the creditor until the debt is satisfied.

Common Reasons for Wage Garnishment

Several situations may lead to wage garnishment, including:

1. Unpaid Child Support: Failure to meet child support obligations can result in wage garnishment to ensure the financial support of dependents.

2. Unsettled Debts: Creditors may pursue wage garnishment for unpaid debts such as credit card balances, medical bills, or personal loans.

3. Tax Debts: Government agencies may resort to wage garnishment to recover unpaid taxes, including federal or state income taxes.

4. Defaulted Student Loans: Individuals in default on their student loans may face wage garnishment as a means of debt collection.

The Legal Protections You Have

Facing wage garnishment can be a daunting experience, but it's crucial to understand that individuals have legal rights and protections in place to ensure a fair and just process. At Thomas Kerns McKnight, LLP, our wage garnishment lawyers in Santa Ana are committed to informing you about these protections and advocating for your financial rights.

1. Limitations on Amounts Garnished:

   - Federal and state laws impose limitations on the amount that can be garnished from your wages. These protections are designed to ensure that you have enough income to cover necessary living expenses.

2. Protection Against Termination:

   - Federal law prohibits employers from terminating employees solely due to a single wage garnishment. However, this protection is limited to one garnishment, and subsequent actions may not be covered.

3. Exemption for Certain Income:

   - Some types of income are exempt from garnishment, such as Social Security benefits, disability benefits, and certain types of public assistance.

4. Notification Requirements:

   - Creditors and employers are typically required to provide advance notice before initiating wage garnishment. This notification informs you about the impending action, the reasons for garnishment, and any available recourse.

5. Right to Contest Garnishment:

   - You have the right to contest the garnishment in certain situations. This may involve challenging the validity of the debt, negotiating a repayment plan, or seeking a hardship exemption.

6. Debt Priority Rules:

   - In some cases, different types of debts may take precedence over others. Understanding the priority of debts can be crucial in determining which obligations are subject to garnishment.

Applicable Laws and Regulations

1. Consumer Credit Protection Act (CCPA):

   - The CCPA sets federal limits on the amount that can be garnished from your wages. It aims to protect your earnings, ensuring that you have sufficient income to cover living expenses.

2. Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA):

   - The FDCPA regulates the actions of third-party debt collectors. Understanding your rights under this act is essential, as it provides protections against harassment and unfair practices.

3. State-Specific Laws:

   - Each state may have additional laws and regulations governing wage garnishment. These laws can vary widely, and it's crucial to be aware of the specific protections afforded to you in Santa Ana.

4. Bankruptcy Protections:

   - Filing for bankruptcy triggers an automatic stay, temporarily halting most collection actions, including wage garnishment. Exploring bankruptcy as an option may provide additional relief.

Why Choose Thomas Kerns McKnight, LLP

At Thomas Kerns McKnight, LLP, our approach to resolving wage garnishment issues is anchored in a commitment to understanding the unique circumstances of each client. We recognize that no two situations are identical, and our wage garnishment lawyers in Santa Ana employ a strategic, personalized approach to guide you toward financial freedom.

1. Comprehensive Case Analysis:

   - We commence each wage garnishment case with a thorough analysis of your financial situation. This involves scrutinizing the nature of the debt, assessing income and living expenses, and identifying potential legal avenues for resolution.

2. Identification of Legal Protections:

   - Leveraging our knowledge of federal and state laws, including the Consumer Credit Protection Act (CCPA) and state-specific regulations, we identify and assert your legal rights and protections against excessive garnishment.

3. Negotiation and Settlement:

   - Our seasoned negotiators engage with creditors to explore alternatives to wage garnishment. This may involve negotiating reduced payment plans, settlement agreements, or other mutually agreeable solutions to satisfy the debt.

4. Legal Challenges and Defenses:

   - In cases where the validity of the debt or the garnishment process is questionable, we assert legal challenges and defenses on your behalf. This may include contesting the debt, challenging the court order, or seeking exemptions.

5. Communication with Creditors and Employers:

   - Open and strategic communication with creditors and employers is a key component of our approach. We work to establish clear lines of communication to facilitate negotiations, address concerns, and ensure compliance with legal requirements.

Emphasis on Personalized Solutions

1. Tailored Strategies for Unique Circumstances:

   - Recognizing that each client's financial landscape is distinct, our wage garnishment lawyers tailor strategies to address your specific needs. We understand that a one-size-fits-all approach is insufficient in navigating the intricacies of wage garnishment.

2. Focused on Your Financial Goals:

   - Our approach places a strong emphasis on aligning our strategies with your financial goals. Whether it's achieving debt resolution, preventing further garnishment, or exploring alternative debt relief options, your objectives guide our actions.

3. Empowering Clients with Knowledge:

   - Throughout the process, we empower you with knowledge and understanding. We believe that informed decisions lead to better outcomes, and we ensure that you have a clear understanding of the steps we take on your behalf.

4. Responsive and Accessible:

   - Communication is a cornerstone of our client-centered approach. We remain responsive and accessible, keeping you informed about developments in your case and addressing any concerns or questions you may have.

Contact Us Today

When facing the formidable challenge of wage garnishment, the choice of legal representation is pivotal to securing your financial freedom. At Thomas Kerns McKnight, LLP, we stand apart as a team of experienced wage garnishment lawyers in Santa Ana, dedicated to providing unwavering support and comprehensive legal assistance.

If you find yourself facing the burdensome challenge of wage garnishment, remember that you don't have to navigate this journey alone. Thomas Kerns McKnight, LLP is here to be your advocate, guide, and ally in reclaiming your financial freedom. 

What is Wage Garnishment?

You work hard for your wages. However the money you make to take care of yourself as well as your loved ones can be taken away if you owe unpaid debts. In California, certain creditors can garnish your wages, forcing your employer to take a big chunk of your paycheck and place it straight into the hands of those creditors. When that happens, your ability to support your family is threatened, making an already difficult financial situation worse, as you fall even more behind in your obligations.

If you are threatened with or living under the debilitating burden of a wage garnishment, there is hope. At The Law Offices Of Thomas Kerns McKnight, we know the stress, anxiety, and obstacles that follow a wage garnishment. Fiercely committed to the well-being of our clients and their loved ones, we use our experience and tenacity to resolve and remove wage garnishments and position clients for brighter futures.

Who Can Garnish Your Wages?

A wage garnishment is an order from a court or a government agency sent to your employer requiring them to withhold a certain amount from every paycheck and send those funds directly to your creditor. However, California legislation places limits on who can garnish your wages and how much can be drawn from each paycheck.

If you owe child support or spousal maintenance, as much as 50 percent of your disposable income (the amount you get after your employer pays applicable taxes) can be garnished to fulfill those obligations. For student loans, up to 15 percent of your disposable income from every paycheck can be diverted to the lender. The amount that can be garnished for unpaid taxes can vary depending on a number of factors, and multiple garnishments can reduce your wages even more.

For more information about chapter 7 and wage garnishment, or how to file your bankruptcy in Santa Ana, contact Thomas K McKnight LLP at (800) 466 - 7507 or visit our website at for a Free Consultation. 

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