Reduce Wage Garnishment where no exemption applies

If your employer has been served with a wage garnishment, you can expect that 10% of your wages will be withheld each pay period.

There are many instances in which a judgment debtor may be able to claim income exempt from garnishment. These exemptions will be listed on the income execution served upon you by the marshal or other enforcement officer.

If your payroll compensation does not qualify for an exemption, you may still be able to arrange for a reduction in the pay check deduction by proving undue financial hardship in court.

New York CPLR § 5231 provides statutory authorization for a judge to reduce the income levy in these circumstances.

How to file to reduce garnishment of wages

  1. Prepare a detailed breakdown of your personal monthly income, as well as the income of all members of your household.Your breakdown should be supported by redacted copies of pay advices confirming the income of each household member.
  2. Prepare a list of your personal monthly expenses, as well as the overall household expenses.Your list should be supported by redacted copies of household bills.
  3. If the wage garnishment is causing you or a house-mate to deplete savings, provide a redacted copy of the savings bank statement to prove you are running out of money.
  4. Write a clear but concise explanation as to why it is fair and important that the wage garnishment be reduced.

Negotiate with the creditor’s payroll garnishment department

After serving your request to reduce garnishment on the creditor, and filing it in court, call the creditor on the phone and simply ask if they will agree to reduce the garnishment. You can point out to the creditor that if the paycheck deductions continue, you may be forced into bankruptcy in which case the debt may be completely discharged and the collection agency will receive no further money at all. [1]

Benefits of Filing to lower garnishment amount

One benefit of this debt defense tool is that it can be used at any time during the wage garnishment process. Even if the garnishment has been in place for a year or more, you can have success with a motion to reduce garnishment.

A motion to vacate a default judgment, for example, should be filed as soon as reasonably possible after the debtor learns about the judgment. Any delay can be held against you in court.

However with the application to decrease the garnishment, the court relies heavily consider your current financial hardship, so any delay in filing the motion should not be held against you.

Our wage garnishment lawyer has years of experience with helping clients to reduce an income levy.

For assistance with a motion to reduce wage garnishment, contact our debt defense office for a free case review.

[1] In the case of a bankruptcy filing, the creditor may be required to return money withheld from your pay