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Stop Wage Garnishment In Utah

Dena Standley | June 21, 2023

Edited by Hannah Locklear

Summary: Utah wage garnishment laws allow you to fight back and either stop or reduce the garnishment order, and they prevent more than 25% of your disposable earnings from being garnished. There are ways to avoid wage garnishment, like debt settlement, or stop it once it has already started, like requesting a hearing for wage garnishment exemption.

Wage garnishment can leave individuals unable to meet their debt obligations and can be a financially devastating experience for many families in the United States. Utah wages can be garnished legally if the creditor obtains a court order, leaving those in debt feeling helpless and overwhelmed.

After a creditor has obtained a court order against an individual, indicating that they are legally entitled to collect the sought debt, wages can be garnished in a legal process in which a creditor can collect by taking money directly out of an individual's paycheck. Wage garnishment can be a scary reality for many, as it limits the cash available each month for the individual to take home.

Thankfully, some steps can be taken to stop wage garnishment and regain control of your finances in Utah. In this article, we’ll explain how you can stop or prevent wage garnishment in Utah.

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What is wage garnishment?

Utah law ( UT Code § 70C-7-103) allows creditors to garnish up to 25% of your disposable earnings. Disposable earnings are defined as the amount of income left over after taxes and other mandatory deductions have been taken out.

If the amount of your disposable earnings that exceeds 30 times the federal minimum hourly wage of $7.25 is less than 25% of your disposable earnings, then that is the amount that will be garnished according to Utah law.

Here is an example to illustrate:

Example: Tevin has a debt of $3,900 with Discovery. He received a garnishment order stating his income would be garnished in 2 weeks. His weekly income is $1000 after deductions. Legally, the amount that can be garnished is $250. However, Tevin already had a child support garnishment in place, which took $400. Hence, the new amount that Discovery can take is 25% of $600, which is $150.

What causes wage garnishment?

There are various reasons why you might be subject to wage garnishment, and some of the most common reasons include the following:

  • Unpaid child support: If you fall behind on child support, your wages may be garnished in Utah to collect the outstanding amount.
  • Unpaid taxes: If you owe back taxes to the state or federal government, your wages may be subject to garnishment to collect the debt.
  • Unpaid debts: Creditors may also seek wage garnishment as a last resort to collect unpaid debts, such as medical expenses or credit card debt.

How to stop wage garnishment in Utah

If you're currently facing wage garnishment in Utah, you can make several moves to stop or reduce the amount being garnished from your wages. Some of the most strict and effective strategies assist people in stopping wage garnishment, regaining control of their finances, and moving on with their lives. Some of the strategies include:

Contact the creditor

Reach out to the creditor to negotiate a payment plan or settlement once you receive a wage garnishment notice. Creditors are often willing to work with individuals and avoid garnishment, which can be lengthy and expensive.

Once you contact the creditor, you should be prepared to provide documentation of your expenses in your income. In addition, include any extenuating circumstances that may be impacting your ability to pay, such as a sudden illness or job loss that has impacted you financially.

Request a hearing for unjust or excessive garnishes

If you think the wage garnishment is unjust or excessive, you have the right to request a hearing to contest the garnishment. File a request with the court within ten days of receiving a garnishment notice.

At this hearing, you'll have the opportunity to present evidence and argue your case as to why the amount being garnished should be reduced or eliminated. It is important to consult with a legal professional before the hearing so that they may guide you on the best strategies for presenting your case and assist you.

File a claim exemption

Certain types of income are exempt from garnishment in Utah, and creditors are not legally allowed to take these funds to pay off debts. Some examples of exempt and come in Utah include:

  • Supplemental security income
  • Public assistance benefits
  • Worker's Compensation
  • Veterans benefit
  • Social Security benefits
  • Unemployment compensation

File for bankruptcy

If you cannot negotiate a settlement with a creditor, filing for bankruptcy can be an option to help stop wage garnishment. When you file for bankruptcy in Utah, an automatic stay is put in place, preventing creditors from taking further collection action, including garnishing wages.

It's important to know that filing for bankruptcy should be an absolute last resort as it can have long-term negative consequences on your credit report and financial standing. Notably, not all debts can be discharged in bankruptcy, and certain assets may be at risk of being seized to be paid off creditors such as your car or home.

There are resources for people facing wage garnishment in Utah

Utah Legal Services may help low-income clients connect with a volunteer bankruptcy attorney who will take care of their case for free. This service also assists qualifying clients with debt collection and credit concerns. The Utah Courts website includes a county-by-county list of free legal clinics. People can access the court system and civil legal rights using free, low-cost, and sliding-scale legal aid services.

The following official Utah state and nonprofit organization websites have helpful information about wage garnishment:

Wage garnishment is a stressful and overwhelming experience for individuals and can leave them with reduced income and the inability to meet their financial obligations. Thankfully, some steps can be taken to stop or reduce wage garnishment in Utah, and if you're facing wage garnishment, it is important to take action immediately to regain control of your finances. Consulting with appropriate legal resources could help you determine the best course of action.

Avoid wage garnishment in Utah with debt settlement

One way to protect yourself from wage garnishment is to settle your debt. Debt settlement involves offering to pay off a portion of your debts in order to clear your name of the obligations. Through debt settlement, you can avoid dealing with the effects of a judgment or wage garnishment.

SoloSettle makes the debt settlement process easier. Our software helps you send and receive settlement offers until you reach an agreement with your creditor or the debt collector. Once the agreement is documented, SoloSettle helps you send over your settlement payment, helping you protect your financial information and keep it private.

Learn more about debt settlement in the following video:

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