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Stop Wage Garnishment in New Mexico

Dena Standley | August 24, 2023

Edited by Hannah Locklear

Summary: New Mexico's wage garnishment laws are slightly more lenient than federal law. Similar to many states, most creditors must obtain a money judgment before placing a wage attachment on your earnings in New Mexico. Luckily, there are ways to stop and prevent wage garnishment, like debt settlement. SoloSettle makes the debt settlement process easier.

Consumers must understand New Mexico's laws, especially if they face wage garnishment for the first time. A clear picture of the process can open several ways to handle the situation.

New Mexico wage garnishment laws are public. So you can access them whenever you need to. However, many consumers may need help comprehending the complex legalese on government websites.

This article breaks down the technical jargon and formal terminologies in a way you can understand. By examining the applicable laws, you will find ways out of a wage garnishment order.

Avoid wage garnishment through debt settlement.

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Who can garnish my wages?

Creditors can garnish your paycheck if you owe them a debt. The creditor has to file a lawsuit, win it, and fill out an Application for Writ of Garnishment and obtain a garnishment order before taking money from a debtor’s paycheck.

So, if you’ve been sued for debt in New Mexico, it’s important to respond to the case with a written Answer before the deadline (30 days) in order to avoid a default judgment. A default judgment means you didn’t respond to the case, so the creditor won it by default. Responding to your lawsuit helps you defend yourself from judgments that can lead to wage garnishment.

If multiple creditors garnish your wages, the order in which they receive the money depends on the state’s set order of priority and the date of issue of each Writ. For example, credit card and personal loan withholding orders come fifth (and last) in importance. So a credit card debt collector must wait in line until your employer pays garnishments in other categories such as child support and taxes.

Here is a table showing the order of priority for wage garnishment in New Mexico.

Statute of Limitations on Debt in Vermont

Priority Category Example
First Wage and Earnings Assignment order for Support Child support
Second Earnings Withholding for Support Child support, alimony
Third Earnings Withholding for Taxes IRS, Federal taxes, and State taxes.
Fourth Earnings Withholding for Elder or Dependent Adult Financial Abuse/Exploitation Debts incurred from forging a dependent adult’s signature or
Fifth Earnings Withholding Order Medical bills, credit cards, personal loans, and other unsecured loans.

If your garnishable wages cannot pay all creditors, the remaining ones will have no choice but to keep waiting. Let's discuss how much debt creditors can attach to your weekly income.

How much of my wages can creditors garnish?

New Mexico limits how much creditors can take from your earnings to pay defaulted debts. The amount differs depending on the type of debt. The following are examples of those limits.

Creditors can take up to 25% of your disposable income (the money left after mandatory deductions, such as taxes) in New Mexico, provided you receive 40 times the minimum hourly wage weekly. Some states have it lower at 30 times.

While the federal minimum hourly wage is $7.25, New Mexico's is higher, at $11.50. Therefore you must take home at least $460 (40x$11.50) each week. Any extra earnings are at risk. Some cities in the state have a higher minimum wage, so you should be familiar with your local directives.

Your employer can give away up to 50% of your disposable earnings for child support in New Mexico.

How do I stop wage garnishment in New Mexico?

Wage garnishment strains not just your income but also your relationship with your employer. For example, once they receive the order to withhold your wages, they must respond within 20 days. They must also fill out the “verification of employment” form. That unexpected turn of events can strain your relationship with your employer.

Therefore, you should do everything possible to prevent and stop wage garnishment.

So, if you are late on debt repayments, it is wise to make alternative arrangements with the creditor. You can ask for lower monthly amounts you can keep up with without defaulting. You may also offer to settle for less before the situation escalates to lawsuits, liens, and garnishments.

Avoid wage garnishment through debt settlement

To settle a debt, you must offer the creditor a portion of the balance in one lump-sum payment. If it agrees to the settlement — and you hold up to your end of the bargain — the creditor will drop the lawsuit against you and release you from any remaining claims.

If you can negotiate a debt settlement, the debt lawsuit and the potential for wage garnishment go away.

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.

To learn more about how to stop wage garnishment through debt settlement in New Mexico, check out this video:

If wage garnishment is already in place, you may still have options for stopping it.

Stop wage garnishment in New Mexico

Pay the creditor directly

You may pay in full if you have funds available. You can also offer to settle for less or set up a repayment plan that works for you.

File for exemptions

You can request exemptions if you are struggling to stay afloat financially. If you cannot afford rent or groceries because of a sudden hike in the cost of living, the court may accept your request for exemption.

Remember that you will not qualify for an exemption if you use some of your earnings to buy luxury services or items. Your application also does not go through if you owe money to an attorney following an order in a family law case, are late on a child or spousal support, or owe former employee wages.

  • Social Security benefits (OASDI or SSI)
  • Public Assistance Benefits (AFDC, GA, welfare)
  • Veterans benefits
  • Workers’ and unemployment compensation
  • Life, accident and health insurance proceeds
  • Pension and Retirement Funds

File for bankruptcy

Despite the apparent cons of filing for bankruptcy, it may relieve you from garnishment and debt collection lawsuits. You may be unable to access credit for a while, but some unsecured credit providers will stop garnishing your paycheck.

Call the Bankruptcy Hotline

Dial 888-790-4291. SoloSuit partners with the Free Bankruptcy Advice Helpline.

How can SoloSuit help you with wage garnishment in New Mexico?

SoloSuit has tools for resolving debt at all stages. Use SoloSuit to:

  • Force debt collectors to validate a debt.
  • Settle your debt.
  • Answer debt collection lawsuits in time.
  • Push your case out of court and into arbitration by filing a Motion to Compel Arbitration.

If you're struggling to honor a wage garnishment order, you don't have to wait until the deductions cover the debt entirely. Do your best to prevent it. You can stop it if you follow the steps discussed above.

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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