Sarah Edwards | June 29, 2023
Edited by Hannah Locklear
Summary: In Kentucky, creditors can take up to 25% of your disposable earnings through wage garnishment. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent wage garnishment, such as defending yourself in court by filing a written Answer to the lawsuit or settling your debt with the help of SoloSettle.
Wage garnishment occurs when a creditor seizes a portion of your wages to satisfy a debt. The creditor will continue to take part of your income until you repay your obligation. Wage garnishments can last weeks, months, or even years, depending on how much you owe and how much you earn.
It’s important to realize that wage garnishments aren’t automatic. If you stop paying your bills, your creditors can’t suddenly swoop down and force your employers to hand over part of your paycheck. Instead, they must sue you and win a judgment from your local court to start the garnishment.
Wage garnishments are entirely avoidable if you make the right choices. Here’s what you need to know about the wage garnishment process in Kentucky.
Everybody’s been there — maybe you forgot about an old debt or hit a financial snag that prevented you from making regular payments. Whatever the reason for veering off track from your financial obligations, you’re now in trouble.
Perhaps your creditor won’t stop calling you, or it has initiated a debt lawsuit against you. You’ll need to act quickly to resolve the matter and avoid a judgment.
A monetary judgment is the average consumer’s worst financial nightmare. A judgment stays in your public records; creditors can use it to garnish your wages or freeze your bank account. If they’re successful in these efforts, you’ll lose a big portion of your income until you repay your obligation. You’ll also find getting a new loan or qualifying for a lease challenging.
Your first step to fighting a judgment (and wage garnishment) is responding to your creditor’s Complaint with an Answer. An Answer formally notifies your creditor that you disagree with the lawsuit and intend to protect your interests.
An Answer should outline your reasons for nonpayment or explain why you believe your creditor’s legal claim doesn’t hold water. If your case ends up in the courtroom, your Answer stops your creditor from asking for a default judgment against you. The judge must listen to your side of the story before making a ruling.
Need help drafting your Answer? Watch this video to learn more:
Unless you genuinely don’t owe the debt or have a solid defense to the debt lawsuit against you, it’s best to try to resolve the obligation with your creditor before your court date. To do so, you have two options: repaying the debt or settling it.
Repaying the debt means you are free and clear of the lawsuit and your creditor. Once your creditor receives your payment, it must drop your case since nothing remains to sue you for. You can rest easy knowing you don’t need to worry about a judgment or wage garnishment.
However, you may not have the cash available to fully repay a debt before your court date. In that case, you can try to settle your obligation.
In a debt settlement, you offer the creditor a percentage of the total amount due. In exchange, your creditor agrees to drop the lawsuit against you and release you from the remaining balance.
Sounds great, right? You’ll save a bit of money and avoid a judgment and wage garnishment. However, creditors don’t have to accept a settlement. They only will if it benefits them. Thus, you’ll want to offer a reasonable amount, like 60% of the total value of the debt. Your creditor will let you know if that’s enough or if it will require more.
Debt settlement can be confusing — especially if you’ve never tried it. SoloSettle can help.
SoloSettle, powered by SoloSuit, is a tech-based approach to debt settlement. Our software helps you send and receive settlement offers until you reach an agreement with the collector. Once an agreement is reached, we’ll help you manage the settlement documentation and transfer your payment to the creditor or debt collector, helping you keep your financial information private and secure.
The goal of repaying or settling your debt before your court date is to avoid a judgment and wage garnishment. According to Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 427.010, the limits on wage garnishment are the lesser of:
In Kentucky, all earnings from work, including wages, commissions, and bonuses, are susceptible to wage garnishment. Interestingly, Kentucky does not exempt retirement and pension income, as a few other states do. Disposable earnings include income after necessary withholdings, including federal and state taxes, per Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 427.005.
Let’s consider an example.
Example: Cynthia took out a loan to fix her car for $3,000. She made payments for a few months, then stopped when they became too much to handle. She still owes $2,800, and her lender initiates a debt lawsuit against her in Kentucky, which it wins. Cynthia has $1,100 in weekly disposable earnings, and her lender wants to garnish them. Under Kentucky law, Cynthia will pay $275 weekly until she repays her debt, which is the lesser of the two options stipulated in Kentucky’s rules for wage garnishment. The other option is $1,100 - (30 x $7.25), or $882.50. Her wage garnishment will continue for over ten weeks.
Cynthia could have avoided the wage garnishment if she had worked with her lender to resolve the outstanding debt before her court date. Instead, the wage garnishment will take a serious bite out of her income, making it harder to afford rent, groceries, and payments on any other obligations she has.
Not only does wage garnishment impact your monthly income, but it’s also potentially embarrassing. Creditors will notify your employer of an impending wage garnishment, which can hurt your reputation at work.
Instead of suffering from income loss and embarrassment, try to resolve your debt issues before they end up in court. That way, you can move past the obligation and avoid losing part of your income to wage garnishment.
Is a creditor suing you in Kentucky? Get help settling the debt with 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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