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Stop Wage Garnishment in South Dakota

Dena Standley | May 11, 2023

Summary: You can lose up to 20% of your disposable income weekly to a creditor who garnishes your wages in South Dakota. Few consumers can afford to survive with such a significant portion chopped off their earnings. Fortunately, it is possible to avoid or stop wage garnishment in South Dakota. Debt settlement can help you prevent wage garnishment and clear the debt from your name.

Wage garnishment is arguably any consumer's worst nightmare. Discovering that someone is entitled to your hard-earned money is stressful, then realizing that your employer is now involved in your financial issues increases the stress exponentially.

If you are an average consumer already dealing with the high cost of living, it is understandable that you are looking for a way out of the garnishment. Examining South Dakota Codified Laws provides solutions that may work for you.

In this article, we’ll review South Dakota’s laws on wage garnishment before we discuss how to object to wage garnishment in South Dakota.

Let’s jump right in.

South Dakota's wage garnishment laws offer protection

The following summarizes South Dakota wage garnishment laws (Codified Laws Chapter 21-18). They apply to consumer debts and public and domestic debts such as back taxes, child support, and defaulted student loans.

Garnishment limits

South Dakota allows a judgment creditor to take the lesser of these amounts to recover the debt:

  • 20% of the debtor's weekly disposable income, or
  • The amount by which the debtor's disposable income exceeds forty times the minimum hourly wage ($10.80 effective January 2023) less $25 for each dependent family member living in the same household as the debtor —South Dakota Codified Law 21-18-51.

Who can garnish wages?

To garnish an employee's wages in South Dakota, the creditor must have a judgment for money against the debtor. The garnisher can be an original creditor, third-party debt collector, or debt buyer. But they would first have to sue the debtor and win. Debts for which wages can be garnished include credit cards, medical bills, auto loans, rent, and other personal loans.

Who receives the money?

Your employer withholds the money and hands it to the levying officer (Sherrif or Marshall), who then gives it to the judgment creditor.

Are there exemptions?

Yes. Like most states, South Dakota protects some income from garnishment. If your source of income is social security, welfare, or child support, it cannot be garnished. If you can prove the need, South Dakota also exempts the money you need for immediate family needs, such as rent, clothing, food, and medical expenses.

When does garnishment start?

After your employer receives the notice to withhold your wages, they wait for ten days and begin deducting money from the next paycheck after that period. To avoid creditors from garnishing your wages for other debts, respond to the debt collection letters and lawsuits before it is too late. Use the links below on SoloSuit's online App.

Will I be notified about a garnishment?

Yes. The law requires the creditor to notify the debtor of their intentions. So, you should receive the paperwork before the garnishment starts.

How do you stop wage garnishment in South Dakota?

According to the laws discussed above, you can halt garnishment using the following ways:

1. Object to unlawful wage garnishment

If the garnishment is unlawful, you can challenge it to recover any money the creditor has already taken. Some scenarios that may result in an illegal garnishment include a mixup in identity, fully paid debts, fraud, and wrong debt amounts.

You may also file a motion to vacate the judgment that gave the creditor the right to garnish. Although garnishment will continue pending the court's decision, you can recover the amount a creditor has already taken if you win.

2. Negotiate a settlement or payment plan

Unfortunately, a wage garnishment order gives the creditor the upper hand, and they may be unwilling to settle for less. Still, it does not hurt to try. You may also suggest a direct payment plan that leaves your employer out of the transactions.

Be sure to get the settlement agreement in writing and notify all parties to stop the garnishment.

3. File for exemption

Aside from the exempt income already mentioned above, you can apply for additional exemptions. For example, if you desperately need the money the creditor is seizing to meet your basic needs, you should respond to the garnishment order. Request a hearing to explain why and how much of your wages you cannot afford to lose. Provide as much information as necessary to prove your claims. The court may agree to lower the garnishment amount to protect you during hardship.

4. File for bankruptcy

In a wage garnishment emergency, filing for bankruptcy can be necessary to stop the bleeding. The goal is to get the Discharge Order to relieve you of all dischargeable debts. But there are immediate benefits too. The bankruptcy filing puts an Automatic Stay that stops all debt collection efforts. Once your bankruptcy lawyer files the papers, the court notifies all creditors. Collection calls, letters, garnishments, and lawsuits all stop.

Discover the best time to file for bankruptcy.

In South Dakota, if a creditor is already garnishing your wages, you can find a way out by filing for exemptions, making direct payments to the creditor, and finding relief through bankruptcy. The Attorney General for South Dakota provides a consumer handbook that provides useful information about wage garnishment and a multitude of other useful resources for financial health and safety. Use these legal methods to stop wage garnishment.

Avoid wage garnishment through debt settlement

Repaying the entirety of the debt stops any further legal action against you. If you pay before your court date, your creditor must drop the lawsuit since there’s no longer a reason to sue you. You won’t need to worry about a judgment or wage garnishment.

However, you may not have the money available for a total repayment. If that’s the case for you, debt settlement may work.

In a debt settlement, you offer your creditor a fraction of the debt’s total value in a lump-sum payment. In exchange, the creditor agrees to dismiss the case against you and release you from the remaining balance of the obligation.

Debt settlement is advantageous to creditors who don’t want to deal with the hassle of the legal process and further collection actions. It benefits you since you’ll no longer need to worry about a judgment or wage garnishment.

SoloSettle makes debt settlement simple

Debt settlement companies can be expensive, time-consuming, and even scammy. Luckily, you can work out a debt settlement on your own with the help of SoloSettle.

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 your creditor or debt collector.

Here are a few features that make SoloSettle unique:

  • You can settle debts of any size with SoloSettle. Many debt settlement companies require you to have a debt over $15k.
  • SoloSettle actively attempts to settle your debt, whereas many debt settlement companies take a more passive role, waiting for settlement offers to come to them.
  • SoloSettle is offered by SoloSuit, a trusted brand and a legitimate company. Many traditional debt settlement companies are actual scams.
  • SoloSettle has legal defense built in with SoloSuit. While settling, you can use SoloSuit to block lawsuits if you need. Most debt settlement companies don’t provide legal defense; if you’re sued for a debt you are on your own.

To learn more about how SoloSettle can help you settle your debt and avoid wage garnishment, check out this video:

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