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Stop Wage Garnishment in Alaska

Sarah Edwards | April 13, 2023

Sarah Edwards
Legal Expert
Sarah Edwards, BS

Sarah Edwards is a professional researcher and writer specializing in legal content. An Emerson College alumna, she holds a Bachelor of Science in Communication from the prestigious Boston institution.

Edited by Hannah Locklear

Hannah Locklear
Editor at SoloSuit
Hannah Locklear, BA

Hannah Locklear is SoloSuit’s Marketing and Impact Manager. With an educational background in Linguistics, Spanish, and International Development from Brigham Young University, Hannah has also worked as a legal support specialist for several years.

There are ways to stop wage garnishment in Alaska.

Summary: Alaska has strict wage garnishment laws that allow creditors to seize up to 25% of your disposable earnings. Use SoloSuit to respond to your debt lawsuit and avoid wage garnishment altogether.

Suffering from financial problems can cause severe stress and anxiety. You know you need to pay your bills, but you may be unable to. Perhaps you’re out of work or dealing with medical issues. Whatever the cause, you must take action to prevent a debt lawsuit and potential wage garnishment.

Creditors will seek to garnish your wages if they win a debt lawsuit against you. A successful debt lawsuit gives creditors a judgment, which they can use to collect money from you until you satisfy your debt.

The laws concerning wage garnishment in Alaska

Every state has its own way of dealing with people behind on their obligations.

Under Alaskan law, creditors can garnish your wages according to federal guidelines in 15 U.S.C. § 1673. The maximum amount of the garnishment is the lesser of these two numbers:

  • 25% of your disposable weekly earnings.
  • The amount of disposable weekly wages exceeding 30 times the federal minimum wage.

The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. Your disposable weekly earnings are the amount remaining after taxes and other deductions required by law.

Alaska provides all residents a base exemption of $350 weekly under AK Stat § 09.38.030. That means debtors must collect at least $350 from their weekly pay; this amount is exempt from wage garnishment.

Unlike other states, Alaska allows creditors to garnish certain unearned income, like disability benefits, pensions, and unemployment benefits. Alimony is also subject to wage garnishment.

If a creditor successfully wins a judgment against you, you can file for an exemption in addition to the standard $350 under AK Stat § 09.38.050. People with money acquired due to an injury or disability may qualify for an additional exemption at the court’s discretion.

Let’s consider an example.

Example: Henry has an old loan with Best Bank for $5,000. When Henry stopped making loan payments, Best Bank sued him for debt in Alaska. Best Bank won its case and obtained a judgment against Henry for the $5,000. Now, it plans to garnish Henry’s wages. Henry earns $1,000 weekly in disposable earnings. Best Bank’s weekly garnishment is $250 (25% of Henry’s weekly disposable earnings) since it’s the lesser of the two options. Under the second option, Henry would pay $782.50 weekly — the calculation would be $1,000 - (30 x $7.25). Henry’s wage garnishment will last until he fully repays the debt over 20 weeks.

Henry could have avoided wage garnishment if he had communicated with his creditors, arranged a repayment plan, or settled the debt before his court date.

Settle your debt to avoid wage garnishment

If you find yourself on the receiving end of a debt lawsuit, don’t ignore it. If your relationship with a creditor deteriorates to the point that the creditor takes legal action, you’ll need to respond.

Your first step is to file an Answer in response to the creditor’s Complaint. An Answer allows you to explain your reasons for not paying the debt. You can use various defenses; for example, maybe the debt has passed the statute of limitations or wasn’t validated properly.

You'll still want to file an Answer even if you know you owe the debt. An Answer prevents the court from granting your creditor a default judgment against you.

This video covers three steps you can follow to file an Answer:

Your next step is to attempt to settle your debt. Determine how much you can afford to pay your creditors. Check your bank balance, look for savings under your mattress, ask friends for help—just try to gather as much money as possible for a settlement. The more you can offer the creditor, the greater your chances of settling the debt before your court date.

Is a creditor suing you for unpaid debt in Alaska? Use SoloSettle to negotiate a settlement.

Don’t ignore a debt lawsuit in Alaska

Creditors can’t garnish your wages arbitrarily; they have to sue you first. If you don’t defend yourself or settle the debt before your court date, they could win a judgment, which they can use to garnish your wages.

Wage garnishment can take a significant portion of your income, which affects your ability to pay for other things, like rent. Take action quickly before it’s too late.

We can help you settle an Alaska debt lawsuit before your court date. Try SoloSettle today, and get rid of your debt.

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