When you’re attempting to collect a debt in New Jersey, one of the first places you potentially look is at the wages of the debtor. Can you successfully garnish the wages of the person who owes you money, so that their employer will pay you directly? Here is some basic information about wage garnishment in New Jersey.
A wage garnishment, also known as wage attachment, can only be obtained through a court order. Before you can ask the court for a garnishment order, you must obtain a judgment against the debtor. There are a few exceptions—a judgment is not necessary for garnishments for child support, including child support arrearages, or for unpaid income taxes or defaulted student loans. The garnishment order will then be sent to the debtor’s employer, who will withhold the court-ordered amount of money and send it directly to you.
There are limits on how much money can be garnished from an employee’s wages. Federal law limits garnishment to 25% of disposable (after-tax) income, but states are free to impose greater limits. Under New Jersey law, a garnishment cannot exceed 10% of your income if you earn less than 250% of the federal poverty income for a household of your size. If you are above that amount of income, the limit is 25% of your disposable income. Military pay and benefits are not subject to garnishment in New Jersey.
Under New Jersey law, all child support orders since 1988 have included an automatic income withholding order and the custodial parent may be entitled to a garnishment order for child support arrearages. If the garnishment order is put in place to collect past due child support, as much as 60% of your disposable income may be garnished if you have no other spouse or child you are currently supporting.
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At the Cintron Firm, LLC, we bring more than 14 years of experience men and women in New Jersey who are involved in or contemplating filing for divorce. To set up an appointment, contact our office at 201-791-1333 or 917-494-5695 or send us an e-mail.