You finally succeeded in your claim for compensation. The court affirmed your right to payment and though you are relieved, you are also wondering what your next step should be. In many cases you will find that collecting your money from the defendant is almost as hard as winning the lawsuit itself. Even with a court order firmly in place, a judgment debtor may not voluntarily issue payment. At Smiley Law, we frequently help clients collect the money they deserve, and understanding how this works should be helpful to anyone reading this post.
The Ups and Downs of Wage Garnishment
To collect on a judgment in Louisiana, you can garnish wages for the repayment of your debt. Wage garnishment allows for funds to be directly withheld from your debtor’s paycheck and thereafter sent to you. In order to pursue a wage garnishment order, you must first obtain a money judgment order stating that the debtor owes you payment. This restriction does not apply to debts resulting as a result of unpaid child support, defaulted student loans, or unpaid taxes.
Though this process may sound simple, there are complicated statutory restrictions to keep in mind. For instance, for most debts, federal law limits the total amount of wage garnishment to the either 25% of the debtor’s weekly income or the amount by which a debtor’s weekly income exceeds 30 times the minimum wage (whichever is less). Though states are free to impose even stricter limitations, Louisiana law generally mimics the federal regulation of wage garnishment.
Can’t Touch This: Types of Income Protected from Wage Garnishment
There are a number of different types of income that are protected from wage garnishment. Under federal law, Social Security is usually exempt from garnishment except in cases related to child support, alimony and certain federal debts.
Louisiana also imposes restrictions on the garnishment of several types of non-wage incomes, such as pensions, retirement benefits, workers’ compensation, unemployment benefits, and life insurance proceeds.
With all these limitations on wage garnishment in mind, it is important to speak to an attorney about your claim. For years, our attorneys have helped clients collect the money owed to them as a result of winning a lawsuit. If you have questions about wage garnishment and pursuing your claim for payment then contact Smiley Law today.