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Facing Wage Garnishment in Wisconsin? Know Your Rights

Posted by Nathan DeLadurantey | May 15, 2024

Facing a wage garnishment can be stressful. Part of your hard-earned paycheck suddenly disappears, leaving you scrambling to make ends meet. If you live in Wisconsin, understanding the state's wage garnishment laws can empower you to navigate this situation.

What is Wage Garnishment?

Wage garnishment is a legal process that allows creditors (like credit card companies or debt collectors) to take a portion of your paycheck to satisfy a debt. A court order authorizes the garnishment, and your employer is legally obligated to withhold the specified amount from your wages and send it to the creditor.

Wisconsin Protections for Consumers

Wisconsin law offers some protections for consumers facing wage garnishment. Here's a breakdown of key points:

  • Limits on Amount Garnished: Generally, creditors can garnish the lesser of:

    • 20% of your disposable earnings (your pay after mandatory deductions like taxes and Social Security)
    • The amount your disposable earnings exceed 30 times the federal minimum wage
  • Exceptions: There are some exceptions where creditors can take a higher percentage, such as for child support, past-due taxes, or certain student loans.

  • Poverty Line Protection: If garnishment would reduce your household income below the poverty line, the amount garnished is limited to the amount exceeding the poverty line. You'll need to file a debtor's answer form to claim this exemption.

  • Garnishee Fees: The creditor must pay a $15 fee to your employer for each garnishment and each extension.

What to Do if You Face Garnishment

  • Review the Garnishment Order: Carefully examine the order to ensure its accuracy, including the amount and the creditor's information.

  • Contact the Creditor: If you believe there's an error, contact the creditor directly to discuss resolving the issue.

  • Explore Options: Consider debt consolidation or a payment plan with the creditor as alternatives to garnishment.

  • Seek Legal Help: An attorney specializing in consumer debt can advise you on your rights and explore potential legal challenges to the garnishment.


The Wisconsin Court System offers resources on wage garnishment, including instructions for filing a debtor's answer form to claim exemptions:

The Wisconsin Department of Revenue also provides information on wage attachments for unpaid taxes:

Remember: Knowledge is power. By understanding Wisconsin's wage garnishment laws, you can take informed steps to protect yourself and potentially minimize the impact on your finances.

Attorney Nathan DeLadurantey offers free consultations to explain your legal rights in Wisconsin. Free consultations can be scheduled online. 

About the Author

Nathan DeLadurantey

Nathan DeLadurantey ATTORNEY [email protected] Nathan is a skilled consumer lawyer who handles cases and trials all over Wisconsin. Phone consultations are always free and welcomed. Nathan has helped clients receive large jury verdicts and settlements stemming from consumer law violations, and is ready and able to assist.


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