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Can Wages be Garnished without being Served in Arkansas?

When a car repo tried to serve me they couldn’t find me. I had moved out of state. I moved back several months later and I received an email from my payroll stating they received a writ of garnishment. Is this legal?

How Does a Creditor Obtain a Wage Garnishment Order?

In Arkansas the steps to obtaining a wage garnishment order are:

  • First a lawsuit - The creditor must first file a lawsuit with the court for the money that they are owed. 
  • Then service - Once a lawsuit is filed, the debtor's employer will typically be served.
  • Then a judgment - The court will then issue a garnishment order to the employer to withhold wages.
  • Then garnishment - The employer must comply and withdraw a specific amount from the employee's check until the debt is fulfilled.

It is possible for your creditor to file a lawsuit and serve your employer with a garnishment order without your knowledge until that last bit–garnishment.

How Much of My Paycheck Can Be Garnished?

What most people don’t realize is that when a payroll department gets that writ, by law they must begin withholding 25% of your take-home pay right away. The papers say there is a period of time before a response is due but that just means your payroll department has to keep the money they collect until they get an order telling them where to send the money.

What Types of Wages Can or Cannot Be Garnished?

Income that can be garnished:

  • Wages
  • Bonuses
  • Commissions
  • Tips
  • Investment income
  • Bank account cash

Income that cannot be garnished:

  • Social Security benefits (except for child support or tax debt)
  • Workers' compensation
  • Retirement income (except for child support or overdue taxes)
  • Payments from child support 
  • Payments from spousal support (except for child support or taxes)

Can Bankruptcy Stop My Wages From Being Garnished?

Good news–filing for bankruptcy can stop a wage garnishment immediately. The automatic stay that is initiated through bankruptcy puts a stop to all creditor collections, including garnishment, repossession, and foreclosure.

Please come talk to our experienced bankruptcy lawyer right away so that we can help you keep your whole paycheck.

Schedule your consultation online or give us a call at (479) 888-2039