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Stop Wage Garnishment in Oregon

Dena Standley | July 13, 2023

Dena Standley
Legal Expert, Paralegal
Dena Standley, BA

Dena Standley is a seasoned paralegal with more than 20 years of experience in legal research and writing, having received a certification as a Legal Assistant/Paralegal from Southern Technical College.

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: Oregon law prevents creditors and debt collectors from garnishing more than 25% of your wages and prioritizes certain types of garnishments over others. Luckily, there are ways to stop garnishment once it’s started and avoid it before it happens in Oregon. Debt settlement is a great way to avoid garnishment, and SoloSettle makes settling your debts easier.

Did you receive a debt collection lawsuit and failed to respond to it? Were you to appear in court for your outstanding debt hearing but failed to do so? Unfortunately, you may soon receive a garnishment order from your creditor if you haven't already.

A court often issues a garnishment order to a creditor after they win a debt collection case.

While it's true that Oregon’s wage garnishment laws limit a creditor's opportunity to garnish your wages, some provisions still allow them to get their money legally.

If you have received a garnishment notice, you can still fight it. This article will explain the various ways to stop wage garnishment. But first, let us look at the wage garnishment laws in Oregon.

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Oregon wage garnishment laws can protect you

Federal and state laws govern the creditor's ability to garnish your wages every month. Oregon revised statutes Section 18 outlines the various laws that protect your rights and guides creditors and employers on the proper way to garnish a debtor's wages. Here is a summary of Oregon wage garnishment laws:

  • Maximum amount: The law limits the money a creditor can take to 25% of your disposable income or your weekly earnings surpass 30 times the federal minimum wage per hour ($13.50/hr).
  • Exemptions: Oregon law exempts certain income from wage garnishments, such as Social Security benefits, unemployment benefits, and workers' compensation.
  • Notice and Hearing: Creditors must provide written notice to you at least ten days before initiating wage garnishment, and you have the right to request a hearing to challenge the garnishment.
  • Employer responsibilities: OR Rev Stat § 18.735 states that employers should notify you immediately of the impending garnishment order and ensure they follow the other provisions.
  • Garnishment priority: If you have multiple garnishments, Oregon law specifies that certain debts, such as child and spousal support, take precedence over a creditor's debt.

When you understand these laws, you are likely to succeed in stopping or reducing your wage garnishment order. Let's look at how to go about it.

Object to the wage garnishment

Objecting to a garnishment order in Oregon means challenging the validity or enforcement of a wage garnishment that the creditor initiated. When you receive a notice of garnishment from your employer, you can object to it through a legal process. Common grounds for objecting to a garnishment order in Oregon include the following:

  • You dispute the debt amount.
  • The garnishment exceeds the accepted limit.
  • Part of your entire income is exempt from garnishment.
  • You are the head of the household, and most of your income supports the family.
  • Your earnings fall beneath the Federal poverty line.

Notably, you have ten days to file an objection with the court. Afterward, the court will schedule a hearing to review the objection and make a judgment.

You and the creditor may be required to provide evidence and present arguments during the hearing. If the court upholds the previous order, the garnishment process will continue. If the court sustains your objection, the garnishment will be reduced or dismissed.

Do you have another debt you have fallen back on payments, and the debt collector is already contacting you? If so, send a Debt Validation Letter to stop their calls. Learn more from George Simmon in the following video.

Stop Oregon wage garnishment with a claim of exemption

Filing a claim of exemption in Oregon allows a debtor to assert their right to exempt a portion or the entire earnings from being subject to garnishment. To succeed in getting an exemption, you must follow the legal process, which is as follows:

  1. Use the Claim of Exemption form from the Oregon State Courts website or the court clerk's office in the county where the garnishment is taking place.

  2. Fill out the form and provide all required information, including the specific exemptions you claim. For example, you receive public assistance, you are the primary breadwinner, and your income is part of the exempted income approved by the government.

  3. Provide supporting documentation to prove your claim for exemption. This information may include financial records and bank statements.

  4. File the Claim of Exemption form with the court clerk's office. You may need to pay a filing fee unless you qualify for a fee waiver. Remember to serve the creditor with the same documents.

  5. Attend a scheduled hearing if the creditor objects to your claim for exemption.

  6. Await the court's decision which may uphold the previous order, or you may win and have the garnishment order adjusted.

Now, let’ts take a look at an example of how to file a claim of exemption from wage garnishment in Oregon.

Example: Candy faces wage garnishment for an outstanding debt with American Credit. Her weekly take-home pay is $500, and the garnishment order requires 25% of her disposable income to be withheld, which amounts to $125 per week. However, Candy's income is below the federal poverty guidelines for a family of four, which is $156.50 per week. After filing for an exemption, the court reviewed her income records and dismissed the garnishment order.

Avoid wage garnishment through debt settlement

When you settle a debt, you offer the creditor a portion of the debt in a lump-sum payment. The creditor then agrees to release you from the remaining balance and drop the legal claim against you.

Debt settlement benefits both creditors and consumers. The creditor will receive part of the debt you owe without needing to go to court or fill out paperwork for a garnishment. You’ll also avoid court, and you’ll be able to put the debt behind you without fear that the creditor will start another lawsuit against you.

Contrary to common belief, debt collectors are often willing to negotiate with consumers even at the garnishment stage. The court procedures to start and continue with the garnishment is time-consuming and costly. Hence, creditors are willing to consider your offer and see if it is better than proceeding with garnishment.

To learn more about how to settle your debt in Oregon, check out this video:

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.

File for bankruptcy

Consider bankruptcy as a last resort. You can use this option if you cannot sustain your and your family's needs with the income remaining after garnishment. Look for a credit counselor in your county to help you choose between Chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcy options.

SoloSuit can help you learn more about managing your debt through our informative articles and YouTube videos. We also have great products to help you respond to debt collectors at whichever stage of the debt collection process. Visit our page today to learn more.

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