However, with a wage assignment, a creditor can take your wages without going to court. A wage assignment is something you sign when you take out a loan, giving your permission to have your wages garnished if you don't pay.
A wage assignment is different from a wage garnishment. A wage assignment is something that you agree to and can be enforced without a court case. A wage garnishment is not voluntary. It happens when your creditor goes to court and gets a judgment against you.
Rules for wage assignments
You must be at least 40 days behind on your loan before a wage assignment can go to your employer. The creditor must mail you and your employer a notice saying they'll start garnishing your wages in 20 days if you don't catch up on your loan.
That notice has to be sent to you by certified or regular mail, so you should have gotten advance warning that your wages were going to be garnished.
The amount that can be taken from a wage assignment is 15% of your gross pay, or the amount of your net pay that is over 45 times the federal or state minimum hourly wage, whichever is greater. That means that you can only have a wage assignment if you take home over $371.25 per week.
You can stop a wage assignment whenever you want. If that's what you want, you should tell both your employer and creditor in writing.
Learn more about Stopping a Wage Assignment.
Remember, you will still owe the money. The lender can still use other methods to collect it. That probably means a court case, which may wind up with an involuntary wage garnishment.
Note: Child support and student loans can also result in garnishments without a court case.
Updated: August 2017