A garnishment is a legal collection tool where a creditor compels an employer to withhold a portion of an employee’s wages. The amount of the garnishment depends on the type of debt the collector is recovering. The caps on the total amount a creditor can collect varies based on the reason behind the garnishment. The cap may be anywhere from 25% to 50% of your wages.

In many cases, once the bankruptcy is filed, the employer is required to stop the garnishment. You need to call our office and schedule an appointment to discuss your particular situation.

The Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 6.27.150 is the wage exemption statute.

(1) Except as provided in subsection (2) of this section, if the garnishee is an employer owing the defendant earnings, then for each week of such earnings, an amount shall be exempt from garnishment which is the greatest of the following:

     (a) Thirty-five times the federal minimum hourly wage in effect at the time the earnings are payable; or

     (b) Seventy-five percent of the disposable earnings of the defendant.

     (2) In the case of a garnishment based on a judgment or other order for child support or court order for spousal maintenance, other than a mandatory wage assignment order pursuant to chapter 26.18 RCW, or a mandatory assignment of retirement benefits pursuant to chapter 41.50 RCW, the exemption shall be fifty percent of the disposable earnings of the defendant.

     (3) The exemptions stated in this section shall apply whether such earnings are paid, or are to be paid, weekly, monthly, or at other intervals, and whether earnings are due the defendant for one week, a portion thereof, or for a longer period.

     (4) Unless directed otherwise by the court, the garnishee shall determine and deduct exempt amounts under this section as directed in the writ of garnishment and answer, and shall pay these amounts to the defendant.

     (5) No money due or earned as earnings as defined in RCW 6.27.010 shall be exempt from garnishment under the provisions of RCW 6.15.010, as now or hereafter amended.

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