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Stop Wage Garnishment in North Dakota

Dena Standley | April 14, 2023

Summary: Wage garnishment can cause your financial situation to go from bad to worse. Fortunately, North Dakota has state and federal laws to protect their residents from wage garnishment. One of the most important wage garnishment laws in North Dakota prevents more than 25% of your disposable earnings or disposable income exceeding 40 times the federal minimum wage per week ($290 from being garnished.

Are you facing wage garnishment in North Dakota? If so, you may be feeling overwhelmed and anxious about your financial situation. However, there's hope. Like many other states, North Dakota provides legal options for consumers to stop wage garnishment and regain control of their finances.

For instance, North Dakota laws restrict the amount a debt collector can take and the types of income eligible for garnishment. With these laws in mind, you can make a formal request to object to the garnishment or be exempted from paying the full amount in the order.

This article will explore these and other options to stop wage garnishment. But before that, let's break down North Dakota's wage garnishment laws.

North Dakota wage garnishment laws

In North Dakota, wage garnishment laws are governed by state and federal laws under the Consumer Credit Code of North Dakota and the Federal Consumer Credit Protection Act (CCPA). The following is a summary of these laws:

  • Debts eligible: Consumer debts that qualify for wage garnishment include student loans, credit card debts, medical bills, and personal loans.
  • Amount limitations: In North Dakota, the maximum amount that can be garnished from your earnings is less than 25% of disposable earnings or disposable income exceeding 40 times the federal minimum wage per week ($290).
  • Protection for the head of household: If you provide more than half the support for a dependent, the amount to be garnished reduces significantly.
  • Notice by creditors: A creditor must provide the debtor with written notice of their intent to garnish wages and their right to challenge the garnishment.
  • Exemptions: North Dakota provides certain exemptions for some government benefits such as retirement, veteran, worker’s compensation, and disability benefits.
  • Employer responsibilities: In North Dakota, employers must comply with wage garnishment orders and provide employees with a copy of the garnishment order and information about their rights as debtors.

Undoubtedly, these laws favor the consumer, making it possible for you to fight the garnishment order using the following ways.

Object to the wage garnishment

To object a garnishment order means formally challenging or contesting the validity, amount, or enforceability of the issued garnishment order. The reasons you can use to object wage garnishment include the following:

  • The debt is not valid, or you do not owe the amount the creditor claims
  • The law protects part of your income from garnishment
  • The credit violated your consumer rights or did not give the notice in good time
  • The amount exceeds the legal limit allowed by North Dakota’s state or federal law

Further, objecting to a garnishment order involves filing a written objection with the court that issued the garnishment order and attending a hearing to present your case. To avoid experiencing the same stress with your other debts, you can settle the debt with your creditor before going to court. Check out this video to learn more about how debt settlement works:

File a claim of exemption

Filing a claim of exemption in North Dakota allows you to assert your right to protect a portion of your income from garnishment. You must file the document within ten days of receiving the garnishment order, or you may not succeed in stopping it. Acceptable reasons for exemptions provided by the law include:

  • Your wages are the primary source of support for your family.
  • Your wages fall below the federal poverty line.
  • Your income falls under those protected by the government from garnishment.
  • You have retirement accounts, such as 401(k) plans, IRAs, and pension plans, which may be exempt from garnishment in North Dakota.

Let’s look at an example.

Example: Becky received a wage garnishment order of $430 from American Express due to an outstanding medical debt of $5,500. She receives Social Security disability benefits as her primary source of income due to a disability that prevents her from working. Hence, Becky filed a claim of exemption with the court asserting that her income consists solely of Social Security disability benefits and is therefore exempt from garnishment under federal law. The court canceled the garnishment after she provided supporting documentation.

Negotiate with the creditor

You may think it is a losing battle to negotiate with creditors after they receive a garnishment order. But, creditors are willing to negotiate because the garnishment process can be expensive and too involving.

Negotiating involves requesting the creditor to settle the debt without taking your wages. You can offer to pay the entire debt or a lump sum and promise to pay the remaining amount within a short period.

The best way of negotiating for settlement is through SoloSettle—a software that helps you send and receive settlement offers until an agreement is reached. SoloSettle, powered by SoloSuit, helps you manage your settlement documentation and also protects your sensitive personal and financial information from creditors by transferring your settlement payment for you.

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