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Stop Wage Garnishment in Rhode Island

Dena Standley | May 09, 2023

Debt Collection Lawsuit Flowchart

Summary: Rhode Island successfully protects its citizens from excessive wage garnishment. The wage protection law limits the amount a creditor can take and allows the debtor to fight the garnishment order. You can prevent wage garnishment by responding to your debt lawsuit with SoloSuit.

Did you know creditors and debt collectors have a legal right to garnish your wages if you do not pay your debt? But, they have to get a garnishment order from the court, except for federal student loans, where the institutions do not need to go to court.

If you are at the garnishment point, chances are high that the creditor first took a debt collection lawsuit against you, which they won. However, you have options if you’re concerned because you’ve received notice of a lawsuit. You can file an Answer to the lawsuit and offer to settle the debt for less than you owe. SoloSuit can help you avoid garnishment.

Stopping wage garnishment depends on whether you argue your case well and provide relevant evidence. Today, we will discuss the various ways to stop wage garnishment in Rhode Island and the laws governing the process.

Sued for a debt in Rhode Island? Settle your debt lawsuit and avoid having your wages garnished.

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Rhode Island wage garnishment laws

Like many other states, Rhode Island’s state and federal laws govern wage garnishment by outlining the procedures, limitations, and requirements for creditors to garnish wages. The following are examples of the laws found in RI Gen L § 10-5-8 and federal law 15 U.S.C. 1671:

  • Wage garnishment limitation: The law limits the maximum amount a creditor can garnish to 25% of your disposable earnings or the amount by which your disposable earnings surpass 40 times the federal minimum wage, whichever is less. Child support is one area where the restrictions on wage garnishment differ. Under Rhode Island law, 50-65% of your disposable earnings can be garnished for child support (depending on whether you are behind in payments).

  • Exemptions and Protections: Rhode Island law prevents creditors from garnishing Social Security benefits, disability benefits, unemployment benefits, and workers' compensation.

  • Notice Requirements: Before a creditor can garnish your wages, they must provide you with written notice of their intent to garnish, along with information on your rights and options.

  • Employer responsibility: The law prevents your employer from firing or discriminating against you because you are undergoing wage garnishment. Instead, they must provide you with notice and give the creditor the necessary information to comply with the court’s demands.

Understanding the wage garnishment laws in Rhode Island is crucial because it can help you protect your rights and take appropriate steps to stop or prevent wage garnishment. Let's look at the options you have.

Object to the wage garnishment

If you're facing wage garnishment in Rhode Island and believe that the garnishment is improper or unjust, you have the right to challenge the garnishment through a legal process. You can object to wage garnishment on various grounds, such as:

  • Disputing the debt validity
  • Challenging the amount being garnished
  • Asserting exemptions or protections that apply to your income
  • Claiming the creditor or employer failed to follow the proper procedure

To succeed, you must file a written objection with the court that initiated the garnishment within ten days of receiving the notice. In addition, when objecting to wage garnishment in Rhode Island, you must prove your case by providing evidence or documentation to support your claim.

In addition, you may need to appear in court for the hearing, and the court will give the judgment after you present your case or a few days later, but in written form.

To avoid going through this process with your other debts, prepare to respond to the debt collection lawsuit with an Answer. Afterward, you can request the creditor to settle the debt. Watch this video to learn more about debt settlement:

File a Claim of Exemption

A claim of exemption is an option you can use to reduce the amount the garnishment order seeks to take. As you fill out the form, indicate a reason you can confidently prove using documentation and factual evidence.

Let’s explore an example of how to stop wage garnishment in Rhode Island.

Example: Tevin earns $13.00/hour and works 20 hours a week. His monthly income is $1040, making it $175 less than the minimum wage required for an individual living alone. Hence, his earnings will be exempt from garnishment because it is below the federal poverty line. But he must produce his paycheck and relevant account details to prove it. He challenges the wage garnishment by submitting all the proper documentation to prove he is exempt, and the wage garnishment order gets canceled.

Other reasons for filing a claim for exemption are if you are the primary breadwinner of the home, your income comes from a public assistance program, or your wages fall under exempted government benefits.

Once you file the claim with the court that issued the garnishment, you may be required to attend a hearing to explain your situation. The creditor will also receive the same opportunity. Afterward, the judge will rule for or against the exemption request.

Negotiate with the creditor

Creditors are often willing to consider your offer if it means they will not have to continue with the garnishment process, which can be time-consuming and expensive. If they agree to negotiate, they will often require you to make a lump sum payment, but they may settle for less than the original debt.

SoloSettle, powered by SoloSuit, guides you throughout the debt settlement negotiation process.

As a tech-based approach to debt settlement, SoloSettle’s software helps you send and receive settlement offers until you reach an agreement with your creditor or debt collector. Once you pay off the settlement, and document the settlement agreement, you will be off the hook.

What is SoloSuit?

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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

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