Sarah Edwards | June 15, 2023
Edited by Hannah Locklear
Summary: Georgia allows creditors to seize up to 25% of your paycheck through wage garnishment. Other garnishment laws protect you from being fired or having all your money taken in Georgia. But there are ways to avoid wage garnishment entirely, like debt settlement. SoloSettle makes settling your debts in Georgia easier.
Most people carry some form of debt, whether it's a credit card, personal loan, or mortgage. Taking on debt helps you afford expensive items when you don’t have enough cash to buy them outright, like a new car or a computer. If you stick with your payment plan, you’ll build your credit history and relationships with lenders.
Problems emerge when you stop making regular payments. Creditors will start calling and sending you letters after your first missed payment. When you ignore their communication efforts, creditors may take further action by suing you or selling your obligation to a collections agency.
A debt lawsuit aims to secure a judgment against you. A judgment allows creditors to garnish your wages until you repay your debt in full. Wage garnishment can take a significant portion of your earnings, negatively impacting your ability to pay for your other needs.
States can set their own wage garnishment limitations or follow the federal government’s criteria. Georgia follows the federal guidelines, which means that it has stricter rules for debtors than many other states.
Under Ga. Code § 18-4-5(a), creditors can garnish a debtor’s pay for the lesser of:
Disposable earnings equal the debtor’s net pay after mandatory withholdings, such as federal taxes and Social Security withholdings.
The law allows debtors and creditors to modify the weekly payments to a lower amount if they can work out a compromise. However, a modification is voluntary, and not all creditors will agree to it. If both parties work out a compromise, they must notify the garnishment court and the debtor’s employer.
Ga. Code § 18-4-5(c) prevents employers from terminating employees because of a single wage garnishment. However, further garnishments on unrelated debts may lead to a worker’s termination.
Let’s consider an example.
Example: Jerry has a credit card with Merry Bank. Jerry has a $4,000 balance and stopped making payments two years ago when he experienced health problems. Merry Bank decides to sue Jerry for the balance, and it wins the claim. The court awards Merry Bank with a judgment, and the bank asks to garnish Jerry’s wages. Jerry’s disposable earnings are $1,000 weekly. Under Georgia law, Merry Bank can garnish Jerry’s pay for $250 weekly, or 25% of his disposable earnings, until he repays his debt. The other alternative under Georgia law is $882.50, or $1000 minus $217.50. Since $250 is the lesser of the two amounts, it will apply in this case. Jerry will pay $250 weekly for sixteen consecutive weeks until he fully satisfies the debt.
In our example, Jerry will pay $1,000 monthly toward his credit card — far more than if he made regular monthly payments under a standard repayment plan. He will probably find it hard to meet his other obligations, like rent or other debts, which could put him at risk for more financial hardship.
When a creditor offers you a loan, it does so because it believes that you’ll pay the loan back and it will earn interest on the arrangement. If the relationship sours, the creditor will try to get you back on track with payments by communicating with you.
It’s in your best interests to return a creditor’s calls and set up a payment arrangement. A payment arrangement can help avoid future repercussions, like a debt lawsuit.
Most creditors want to avoid suing you for unpaid debt. A lawsuit means they must pay court costs and argue their case before a judge. If a creditor wins a claim, it can garnish your wages, but it will incur additional administrative charges. There’s also no guarantee it will collect the entire amount you owe. Sometimes, the debtor doesn’t earn enough money for wage garnishment or isn’t working at all.
Respond to a debt lawsuit to avoid wage garnishment with the help of SoloSuit.
Working with your creditor to resolve an outstanding obligation in the early days before you damage your credit score or become the subject of a debt lawsuit is in your best interests. However, if you’re past the stage of easy resolution and receive a court Summons concerning a debt lawsuit, you have a few alternatives.
Your first option is to repay the entire debt before your court date. Repaying the debt means nothing is left for your creditor to sue you for, so the court will dismiss the lawsuit. You won’t have to worry about wage garnishment anymore, and you can move on from worrying about future legal actions by your creditor.
Your second option is debt settlement. Debt settlement is advantageous when you can’t afford to repay the entire debt before your court date. Creditors may accept a settlement to avoid the hassle of court proceedings, especially if you offer a fair amount to settle the debt.
You’re more likely to be successful in a debt settlement if you offer the creditor at least 60% of the debt’s value. For instance, if you owe the creditor $2,000, an offer of $1,200 may suffice to settle the obligation.
In exchange for your lump-sum payment, the creditor will agree to release you from the debt’s remaining balance and drop the lawsuit against you. It will also report the debt settled to the credit reporting bureaus. You’ll avoid the pain of wage garnishment.
Are you trying to avoid wage garnishment in Georgia? SoloSettle can help you settle your obligation.
Check out the following video to learn more about how debt settlement works:
Georgia creditors can only garnish your wages if they win a debt lawsuit against you. Don’t let them! Instead, take action and repay the debt before your court date. If you don’t have enough money for a total repayment, try to settle the matter instead. A one-time settlement is usually more attractive to creditors than a wage garnishment.
Do you need help settling a Georgia debt lawsuit? Get the help you need from SoloSettle.
SoloSuit makes it easy to fight debt collectors.
You can use SoloSuit to respond to a debt lawsuit, to send letters to collectors, and even to settle a debt.
SoloSuit's Answer service is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your Answer. Upon completion, we'll have an attorney review your document and we'll file it for you.
Here's a list of guides for other states.
Being sued by a different debt collector? Were making guides on how to beat each one.
You can ask your questions on the SoloSuit forum and the community will help you out. Whether you need help now are are just look for support, we're here for you.
Is your credit card company suing you? Learn how you can beat each one.
Need more info on statutes of limitations? Read our 50-state guide.
Need help managing your finances? Check out these resources.
Out Debt Validation Letter is the best way to respond to a collection letter. Many debt collectors will simply give up after receiving it.
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