Charlotte Wage Garnishment Attorney
Preserve Your Income When You Need It Most
When you are struggling to overcome massive amounts of debt, your income becomes crucial to your well-being. The consequences of this burden are more than financial—they are emotional and psychological. If a creditor is threatening you with wage garnishment or has already begun to collect payments directly from your paycheck, you may feel like you have no control over your situation. But with qualified legal support, you can advocate for your rights and pave the way to financial stability.
I, Kimberly A. Sheek, am a wage garnishment lawyer serving clients in Charlotte, NC. In my years of experience, I have seen hard-working families endure unspeakable tragedies, leaving them in financial ruin through no fault of their own. I will listen to your story with compassion and sensitivity, and then I will fight tirelessly for your right to a secure future.
If your wages have been garnished, or you believe they may be soon, call my law firm at (704) 842-9776 today.
How Does Wage Garnishment Work in North Carolina?
The portion of your wages that may be garnished depends on the type of debt you owe, as well as your income. It may range from 0% (if your disposable income is less than 30 times the federal minimum wage) to 60% (for child support if you aren’t currently supporting a spouse or child).
Before garnishing your wages, a creditor must file a collection lawsuit and receive a money judgment from a court of law. This money judgment states that the creditor is entitled to a certain amount of money, and they can therefore utilize a variety of methods to collect it.
When it comes to wage garnishment, however, North Carolina protects debtors more than most other states. Among NC’s various restrictions is the fact that independent contracts and freelancers are not subject to wage garnishment because their income is not technically considered “wages.”
Under North Carolina law, your employer can be ordered to withhold wages and send them to a creditor as payment for only four types of debts:
- Student loans
- Child support/alimony (the most common reason for wage garnishment in NC)
- Ambulance services in certain counties
Employers cannot, however, be ordered by North Carolina courts to withhold wages for car loans, credit card debts, and other personal debts. Unfortunately, a creditor may be able to successfully file for wage garnishment through another state, even if you live and work in North Carolina. Employers may also be allowed to deduct an additional amount from your wages for administrative costs, but if you believe this deduction exceeds what they are allowed, you can file a complaint with the North Carolina Wage and Hour Bureau.
What Is the Difference Between a Garnishment and a Levy?
Because creditors in North Carolina are not permitted to collect credit card, car loan, and personal debts through wage garnishments, they often use bank levies instead. A bank levy is when a creditor withdraws funds from your checking or savings account. Often, the levy is not removed until the debt is completely paid off. Creditors typically levy your bank accounts before resorting to wage garnishment because it is an easier and faster collection method—especially if they already have your account information.
Can My Wages Be Garnished Without Going to Court?
Regular creditors cannot garnish your wages without going to court, however, there are certain circumstances in which your wages may be garnished without a court judgment.
These creditors do not need a judgment:
- IRS or state tax authority, if you owe back taxes
- People or agencies, if you owe child support or spousal support
- Collectors of student loans
Safeguarding Your Wages Through Bankruptcy
One of the main methods of ending wage garnishment is filing for bankruptcy because it triggers an automatic stay. Many view this option as a last resort because they fear they will lose all their assets, or their credit will be forever tarnished. With my help, however, you can file for bankruptcy and still protect what you value most. We will devise a strategy together so that your bankruptcy proceeding serves as a new beginning.
Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows you to end wage garnishment and clear most or all of your debt by liquidizing your assets. A means test will evaluate whether you meet the requirements for this type of proceeding. Chapter 13 bankruptcy, on the other hand, does not eliminate your debt. Instead, the proceeding will structure your debt into a reasonable payment plan over 3-5 years. Like Chapter 7 bankruptcy, it ends wage garnishment—even for domestic support obligations such as child support or alimony.
My firm will help you determine which option of bankruptcy is the right path for you. I believe in your right to the money you earn, and I will work to develop a plan that will help you not just survive but thrive.
Call the Law Office of Kimberly A. Sheek at (704) 842-9776 or schedule your consultation online today. With my help, relief may come sooner than you thought possible.