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Possible challenges to garnished wages

In Oregon, wage garnishment, or having a piece of one’s paycheck given directly to a creditor, has several iterations. Private creditors (credit card collectors, unpaid landlords, etc.) require a court judgment against the debtor to garnish wages, while other garnishment can happen without going to court. Unpaid child support, income taxes and student loans do not require a judgment to be garnished.

According to Oregon.gov, employers must comply with legal requests for garnishment within 90 days of receipt. Otherwise, the employer will be held liable for the amount meant to be withheld. In addition, employers are able to charge for this--$2 for each paycheck that requires pay to be withheld. All of this can put someone who was already feeling financial constraints into dire straits, so it is important to find an experienced lawyer to make sure no more money is being withheld than is legal.

There are limits to wage garnishment, and according to OregonLegalHelp.org either 75 percent of income after taxes or $218 per week, whichever is more, is exempt from being withheld. There are additional benefits that cannot be touched by wage garnishment, including Social Security, disability benefits and child or spousal support. There are also exemptions, which are meant to protect essential property in the case of wage garnishment, which can include homes, automobiles and other possessions. If the limits of garnishment are not being followed or there is property being seized that falls into an exempt category, there may be a challenge that can be presented in court against garnishment.

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