Limits on Wage Garnishment in Colorado

Being indebted to someone is a scary prospect in itself.  It brings with it the fears of how additional charges and poor credit will affect your life in the future. Still, there are other effects debt can have on your life that everyone doesn’t necessarily consider. For instance, wage garnishment is a legitimate course of action a creditor can use to retrieve payment. Where you live will affect how worried you should be. If you’re living in Colorado, you may be wondering what limits on wage garnishments exist.

Wage garnishment is the practice in which creditors can take part of a debtor’s income before they receive themselves, until the debt is paid off. A creditor cannot do so without a court order, unless it is for unpaid income taxes, child support, or defaulted student loans. This is part of the federal protections that protect debtors.

Colorado has not enacted its own laws about the practice, so the federal laws are the only protection given. The maximum amount of a weekly income that can be garnished is 25%. There are certain exceptions. If the weekly wage, post taxes, exceeds minimum wage times 30, the garnished wages can’t be more than the difference. Also, the same exceptions that apply for the debts that do not require a court order for wage garnishment are the same exceptions that apply in that the garnishment can be more than 25% of the wages. If you have outstanding child or spousal support payments, up to 60% can be garnished (50, if you have another child or spouse to support). More can be garnished (five percent) if you have more than twelve weeks’ worth of outstanding payments.

Debts must be taken care of, but wage garnishment can be a frightening concept. Even when you owe money, you will inevitably have at least basic expenses to see to. Despite being protected from having all of your wages taken before you can take care of these expenditures, wage garnishment can still be complicated for both the debtor and their employer, adding a second layer of fear. Fortunately, federal law does protect you in this way as well: an employer cannot fire you because you have a garnishment on your wages.

Though Colorado does not have any specific state laws that protect debtors whose wages are being garnished, the federal laws that are in place do protect people in this situation. It’s a comfort to know that wage garnishment cannot take all of your wages or cost you your job completely.

Kari Johnson

Kari Johnson is a first-year student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, having lived in North Carolina her whole life. At UNC, she is a declared Religious Studies major, and intends to study some form of writing as well during her time and Chapel Hill. She plans to graduate in 2014, after participating in undergraduate research and a study abroad program.

Kari discovered the magic of writing early, in elementary school, and has devoted every spare moment to it since. She writes fiction for her own amusement, and recently began writing articles for The Daily Tar Heel in Chapel Hill. Besides writing, she loves spending time with friends and family, reading, and drinking coffee. She defines herself based on her faith in God, her family roots, and her dream of one day publishing a best-selling novel.

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