Dena Standley | June 13, 2023
Edited by Hannah Locklear
Summary: Wisconsin stands out from other states because it allows creditors to garnish wages for several weeks before requiring another garnishment order. Fortunately, there are other laws that protect consumers from falling into extreme financial hardship. You can also avoid wage garnishment altogether by settling your debt with the help of SoloSettle.
When you owe money to a creditor, they may take legal action to collect the debt when you fail to pay. If a creditor wins a debt collection case against you, they can then obtain a court order to garnish your wages.
Garnishment can cause extreme financial hardship for consumers struggling to pay the bills. A wage garnishment order requires your employer to withhold a percentage of your wages and send it to the creditor.
In Wisconsin, wage garnishment can make paying for essential expenses such as rent, food, and utilities difficult. It can also lead to further financial hardship, such as missed payments on other bills and debt accumulation. As a result, you may have more than one garnishment order unless you respond to the lawsuit with an Answer and, if necessary, offer to settle the debt.
If you're experiencing wage garnishment in Wisconsin, it's essential to take action to protect your rights and financial well-being. Legal options available to stop or reduce wage garnishment include objecting to the garnishment order, filing a claim of exemption, negotiating a repayment plan with your creditor, or filing for bankruptcy. This article will discuss these options.
But before that, you need to know the Wisconsin wage garnishment laws.
Wisconsin garnishment laws regulate the wage garnishment process in the state. These regulations and federal laws protect the debtors' rights and ensure creditors follow legal procedures when collecting debts. Here are five laws related to garnishment in Wisconsin.
In Wisconsin, the maximum amount that can be garnished is 20% of disposable earnings or the amount by which disposable income surpasses 30 times the federal minimum wage ($7.25), whichever is less. (Wis. Stat. Ann. § 812.34-2)
Wisconsin garnishment laws protect certain incomes from garnishment through exemptions. These earnings include workers' compensation, retirement, veteran, and disability benefits. In addition, section 812.35 1a prevents payday loans from using garnishment to get their money back.
Creditors must provide a notice of garnishment to the debtor and their employer at least seven days before the garnishment begins. The notice must include information about the debt figure, the garnishment amount, and the debtor's right to object.
Wisconsin stands out from most states because it limits the period a creditor can garnish wages. Garnishments can continue for up to 13 weeks, after which the creditor must obtain a new court order to continue garnishing wages (Wis. Stat. Ann 812.35 (6)).
Employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees undergoing wage garnishment. Hence, employers cannot terminate, demote, or discriminate against an employee because of a single wage garnishment.
Having these laws in mind will give you a head start in reducing or stopping wage garnishment in Wisconsin. Let's discuss how to go about it.
Wisconsin gives you the right to object to wage garnishment after a creditor delivers the garnishment order. Responding to the issues accurately and with evidence is the key to succeeding in court. The reasons you can use in the wage garnishment objection form are as follows:
After you file the objection with the court, you may be required to go for a hearing to argue your case. To avoid going through this process with your other debts, you can offer to settle for less than you owe. Learn more about how to avoid wage garnishment through debt settlement in this video:
In Wisconsin, debtors can file a claim of exemption to protect a portion of their income from garnishment. Here is a general procedure for filing a claim of exemption in Wisconsin:
When the court grants your request, they will modify, reduce, or stop the garnishment order.
Here is an illustration to explain a positive claim of exemption outcome.
Example: Kate received a garnishment order of $120 from Care Credits for an outstanding debt of $2,300. Her weekly wage is $ 600, and CC believed the entire wage was eligible for garnishment. But Kate also receives a $ 200 workers’ compensation for a previous workplace injury. Hence, her regular weekly salary is $400. She filed a Claim of Exemption with her county court, and the judge confirmed this information to be true. Thus, the court reduced the garnishment order from $120 to $80.
Fortunately, creditors in Wisconsin welcome negotiations due to the strict law permitting them to garnish wages for 13 weeks only. After that, they have to file a new order. Creditors know the garnishment process is time-consuming and costly. So, they are willing to accept a relatively lower settlement offer.
To ensure a favorable deal, use a platform that allows experts to monitor the negotiation process. SoloSettle meets these requirements well and protects your sensitive financial and personal information.
Consider bankruptcy if all the above options fail to reduce or stop the garnishment order. Chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcy options allow you to start afresh, but you still lose most assets in an effort to clear the debts. Additionally, bankruptcy remains on your credit report for ten years, making it hard to get a new line of credit.
SoloSuit has helped thousands of debtors avoid bankruptcy by offering educational content to help them get out of debt.
SoloSuit makes it easy to fight debt collectors.
You can use SoloSuit to respond to a debt lawsuit, to send letters to collectors, and even to settle a debt.
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.
Here's a list of guides for other states.
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