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UPDATE: Can a Debt Collector Garnish My Wages in Texas?

 Posted on May 16, 2022 in Debt Collection

Kerrville Debt Relief LawyerOriginally published: February 12, 2021 -- Updated: May 16, 2022

UPDATE: As discussed below, wage garnishment is generally not allowed in Texas except for a few types of debts. However, this does not mean that creditors cannot take action to collect debts from a person. In fact, the garnishment of a person’s bank account may be effectively the same as garnishing their wages. By understanding the types of actions a creditor can take, a debtor who is facing this type of situation can determine their best options for receiving relief from their debts. 

If a creditor obtains a judgment against a debtor requiring the debtor to pay the debts that are owed, the creditor may then ask for a turnover receiver. This type of court order will be sent to a person’s bank, and the bank will freeze the debtor’s bank account. This will prevent them from withdrawing any money from the account. Some or all of the funds in the account may then be seized by the creditor.

Fortunately, there are some exceptions that protect debtors. Social Security payments are exempt from seizure, and creditors are not allowed to seize domestic support obligations, including child support or spousal support payments that a person has received. A new Texas law that went into effect on May 1, 2022 has required creditors to give debtors 17 days after an account has been frozen to notify them of any funds that should be exempt from seizure.

If a bank account is frozen, any funds deposited into the account, including wages received from an employer through direct deposit, will be inaccessible. As soon as a person is aware of their account being frozen, they will want to take action to safeguard their income, such as by stopping direct deposit and receiving wages through other methods. In most cases, it is best for debtors to avoid these issues by taking action as soon as they become aware that a creditor is seeking a judgment against them. Filing for bankruptcy will halt any collection actions, and it may allow a person to eliminate their debts and avoid ongoing difficulties. If you have questions about your options in these situations, the Law Offices of Chance M. McGhee can provide you with the guidance you need. Contact our New Braunfels bankruptcy attorney at 210-342-3400 for a free consultation.

It is a common myth that debt collectors can garnish a person’s wages when they have not repaid their debts. While this is true in many states across the country, it is not true in Texas. Under Texas law, a person’s wages can be garnished for only very specific reasons and consumer debt collection is not one of them. If you are in debt and fear your wages may be garnished, read on to learn more about this law in Texas.

Understanding Wage Garnishments

Wage garnishments, also sometimes referred to as wage attachments, are court orders that are sent to a borrower’s employer when they have not repaid their debt. Once the employer receives the order, they are then required to withhold a certain amount of money from the employer’s paycheck. The employer must then send the amount that was withheld to the creditor.

In Texas, wage garnishments are only allowed for child support, alimony, taxes, and student loans. The amount of wages that are garnished from a person’s paycheck will depend on different factors. Still, it is generally believed that people should still have enough to live on after the garnishment and so, federal law does set a limit on how much can be taken from a person’s paycheck.

While most creditors in Texas cannot garnish a person’s wages, they do have the authority to freeze a person’s bank account. This means that while the funds will not come directly off of an employee’s check, they still may not be able to access those funds once they are deposited into the bank account.

Can an Employer Fire You Over a Wage Garnishment?

Employers typically do not like wage garnishments because they create more work for them. The employer must first withhold a certain percentage from an employee’s paycheck and is then responsible for forwarding those funds to the creditor. As such, many employees worry that if a valid wage garnishment is taken from their check, their employer may fire them. In most cases, there is no cause for concern.

The Consumer Credit Protection Act is a federal law that prohibits employers from firing an employee over one wage garnishment. However, when an employee has two or more wage garnishments being taken from their check, employers are not prohibited from terminating the employee. Texas also has its own laws on wage garnishment that largely mirror the federal law.

Call Our Texas Wage Garnishment Lawyer Today

No one wants to have their wages garnished but when it happens, too many people allow the garnishment to remain in place until the debt is paid. If a creditor has started garnishing your wages, our skilled San Antonio wage garnishment lawyer at the Law Offices of Chance M. McGhee can assist with your case. We know the defenses available to fight wage garnishments and will use them to give you the best chance of success in your case. Call us today at 210-342-3400 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation.



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