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Stop Wage Garnishment in Michigan

Sarah Edwards | May 10, 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.

Summary: Creditors who win a judgment against you in Michigan can garnish your wages for 25% of your disposable earnings. One of the best ways to prevent a Michigan wage garnishment is to settle your debt with the help of SoloSettle.

Debt can lead you down a difficult path, especially if you don’t stick with your repayment terms. When you stop making regular payments to creditors, they tend to notice. You’ll probably start receiving lots of phone calls and letters, all pressuring you for the money you owe your creditor.

If you don’t get back on track with your payments, your creditor may decide to sue you or sell your obligation to a debt collector, who will take further action against you. Ignoring the matter can make matters even worse; you may find yourself the subject of a debt lawsuit.

Creditors or collectors who win a debt lawsuit against you will obtain a judgment. The judgment opens the door for further legal action through wage garnishment. Wage garnishment allows creditors to take a portion of your weekly salary to satisfy the debt. Garnishment continues until you repay the entire amount due.

If you’ve been sued for debt in Michigan, you can avoid a wage garnishment by settling the debt before your court date. SoloSettle makes the debt settlement process easier.

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Don’t ignore communications from your creditors

Here’s a secret: Most creditors aren’t out to get you. They just want you to stick with your repayment obligations. Many creditors will happily work out payment arrangements that allow you to catch up on your debts if you ask them to.

Problems arise when you ignore their communication efforts. While ignoring debt allows you to keep your money in the short term, it leads to bigger problems down the line. Eventually, a creditor or debt collector will give up trying to work with you and file a debt lawsuit against you.

A debt lawsuit signals that your creditor is tired of your nonpayments and is ready to battle you in court. If you don’t repay the obligation before your court date or arrange a settlement, your creditor or debt collector will probably win a judgment against you. A judgment allows them to start the wage garnishment process.

Following a successful judgment, creditors must wait 21 days before they can garnish your wages. That means you have three weeks to fully repay the debt before they contact your employer.

Michigan wage garnishment laws can protect you

If you think repaying your creditor is hard now, wait until wage garnishment starts. Under Mich. Comp. Laws § 408.476, entities that obtain a judgment against you can withhold the lessor of:

  • 25% of your disposable weekly earnings.
  • The amount that exceeds more than 30 times the federal minimum wage of $7.25 hourly.

Your disposable earnings are your net income after tax payments and other deductions required by law.

To put this into perspective, let’s consider an example.

Example: Barry owes $2,000 for an old credit card debt from Capital Two. He stops making regular payments, and Capital Two sues Barry for the debt in Michigan. When Capital One obtains a judgment, it plans to garnish Barry's wages, and he earns $1,000 weekly after taxes. According to Michigan’s state laws, Capital Two can garnish Barry’s wages for $250 weekly since it’s the lesser of the two available options. A 25% garnishment on Barry’s wages equals $250, while the other option leads to a garnishment of $782.50, or $1000 - (30 x $7.25). Barry’s wage garnishment will cost him $1,000 monthly until he pays off the debt over eight weeks.

Michigan has aligned its wage garnishment limitations with federal law 15 U.S. Code § 1673.

You can stop wage garnishment before it happens

People who get behind on their debts often feel overwhelmed. They may know they owe money but don’t have enough cash to get back on top of their responsibilities. Sometimes they face extenuating financial circumstances, like a health disaster or impending divorce.

However, avoiding the issue won’t make it go away. Once you stop interacting with a creditor, it will usually step up its collection efforts, which may include a debt lawsuit.

If you receive a Summons for Debt, don’t ignore it. Instead, file an Answer with your local court. An Answer is your first line of defense in a debt lawsuit. In your Answer, you’ll explain why you don’t owe the debt. For instance, you can claim the debt is past the statute of limitations or that the lawsuit amount doesn’t match your financial records.

An Answer helps you avoid a default judgment against you. The judge must listen to your defense in court; they can’t simply grant the judgment your creditor asks for.

Watch the following video to learn how to draft an Answer for a debt collection lawsuit:

If you legitimately owe the debt, your best course of action is to repay it before your court date or settle it. Repaying the debt in full will free you from the lawsuit and allow you to continue on your merry way without worrying about the obligation anymore.

However, you can attempt to settle the debt if you don’t have the money to repay it. In a debt settlement, you offer your creditor a fraction of the amount you owe in exchange for dropping the lawsuit against you and forgiving the remaining balance. The more you offer in a settlement, the more likely your creditor will accept it.

To start the settlement process, determine what you can afford to pay. Check your savings, ask your family for help, and try selling a few things you don’t need for cash. If you can come up with 50% to 60% of your debt’s value, you’ll have a decent chance of obtaining a settlement.

If negotiating a debt settlement sounds a little scary, try partnering with SoloSettle. SoloSettle helps people settle their debts and avoid judgments.

Don’t let your debt end up in a Michigan wage garnishment

Wage garnishment can seriously hinder your ability to pay other bills, like your mortgage and car payment. It can make a perilous financial situation even worse and potentially lead to more debt problems that end up in court. Instead of allowing your creditor to garnish your wages, take control of the matter and try to arrange a settlement or repayment plan.

What is SoloSuit?

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.

>>Read the FastCompany article: Debt Lawsuits Are Complicated: This Website Makes Them Simpler To Navigate

>>Read the NPR story on SoloSuit. (We can help you in all 50 states.)

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