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Garnishment Of Wages In Illinois

Under very limited circumstances, Illinois law permits the garnishment of wages. "Garnishment of wages" is a seizure of wages while they are still in the control of the employer and have not yet been paid out to the employee. An employee's wages, salaries, and commissions may be taken from an employer through appropriate legal procedures to satisfy such debts as: (1) judgments for family support, such as money needed for support of a child or an ex spouse; (2) certain student loans; and (3) back rent on a residential lease.

Where circumstances permit the garnishment of wages, the garnishment is not automatic. It can be accomplished only by a court order directed to the employer, and no such court order can be issued without fair notice to the ¬debtor/wage earner. Other than the kinds of debts identified above, no other debt or legal obligation can give rise to wage attachment by the State of Illinois. Federal laws, such as IRS garnishment procedures, may be used to garnish wages of Illinois residents, but only through the federal court system.

Court proceedings will give the proposed garnishee an opportunity to oppose the garnishment of his or her wages. However, if the garnishee has any of the above debts that have not been satisfied, then it is wise to consult an attorney. Of course, the best opposition to a garnishment proceeding is to pay the debt. If paying the debt is not feasible, there may be other legal measures that the garnishee can take to either reduce the garnishment or postpone the proceedings.

Illinois law limits the amount of money that is subject to collection through garnishment. The maximum amount of wages, salaries, commissions, or bonuses subject to collection for any workweek cannot exceed the lesser of 15% of the gross amount paid to the employee for that week or the amount by which the disposable earnings for the week exceed 45 times the Federal Minimum Hourly Wage Law in existence at the time that the amount is payable. Illinois law also exempts certain income from garnishment. This includes benefits and refunds payable by a pension or retirement fund or system and any assets that an employee holds in these type of funds.

While your wages may be safe from garnishment for any other debts, your bank account is not as protected. If any legal judgment has been entered against you, the holder of that judgment can garnish the money in your bank account. This is also done through court proceedings. Once your wages have been paid out to you, they are vulnerable to your judgment creditors if you deposit them in a bank account held in your name.

This website is not intended to constitute legal advice or the provision of legal services. By posting and/or maintaining the website and its contents, Lucas Law does not intend to solicit business from clients located in states or jurisdictions outside of Illinois wherein Lucas Law or its individual attorney(s) are not licensed or authorized to practice law.

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