Restrictions on Wage Garnishment
Even though Texas doesn’t generally permit wage garnishment to collect debts, certain wage garnishments are allowed. The amount that may be involuntarily garnished from your paycheck depends on the type of debt and the creditor. Bankruptcy may stop garnishments and you may be able to recover the funds garnished in the last 90 days.
Maximum amount of garnishment
Under federal law, a worker’s wages may not be garnished for ordinary garnishments, regardless of the number of garnishments, over a total maximum of 25% of disposable earnings or the amount by which the earnings for the week exceed 30 times the Federal minimum hourly rate. Under Texas state law, garnishment is generally not permitted to collect ordinary judgments. If a judgment creditor can enforce a garnishment without requiring any action by a Texas court, however, even a Texan’s wages may sometimes be garnished for debt other than federal debt or domestic support obligations. This may happen if a person gets a judgment against them while living in another state and then moves to Texas and works for an employer who has an office in another state that allows garnishment.
Specific restrictions apply to garnishments for child support or alimony. Up to 50% of a worker’s disposable income may be garnished where the worker supports another child or spouse. If the worker is not supporting another child or spouse, up to 60% may be garnished. For child support that is behind more than 12 weeks, an additional 5% may be garnished.
Non-tax Debts Owed to Federal Agencies
Up to 15% of disposable earnings may be garnished for debts owed to federal agencies.
Federal Student Loan Garnishment
Federal student loan judgment creditor is limited to 10% of borrower’s disposable income. Some courts have held this is a maximum limit for all student loans, but other courts have held it is an individual loan cap and the total of all student loans being garnished can go up to the 25% maximum allowed under the Consumer Credit Protection Act. In Texas, private student loans may not be able to garnish a Texas resident’s wages where the loan was incurred in Texas and the Texas resident works for a Texas company.
Wage Garnishment Calculator
To calculate your disposable earnings, the Department of Treasury has an online calculator.
If your wages are being garnished, filing bankruptcy may stop the garnishment. In certain circumstances, you may be able to recover the amounts garnished within the last 90 days when you file bankruptcy. Consulting with a bankruptcy attorney as soon as notice of garnishment is received is important.