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Employment Law

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Reviewing Missouri’s wage garnishment exemption

| Mar 2, 2018 | Wage And Hour |

Like many in Kansas City, you may have periods in your life where you encounter financial struggles. Whether those be due to an unanticipated injury or illness, the loss of a job or an abundance of debt, such issues can make meeting your needs extremely difficult. For many of those that we here at Thornberry Brown, LLC have worked with, that became even more difficult when debtors were allowed to garnish their wages. Less income often contributes to even greater financial struggles, so it is important that you understand when your employer can allow your wages to be garnished, as well as what garnishment limitations you may be entitled to. 

To withhold wages, your employer must first receive a garnishment order. That order is issued by a court only after a creditor has initiated a lawsuit against you. Creditors must obtain a court order before contacting your employer. The only exceptions to this are when you owe any of the following: 

  • Child support
  • Student loan debt
  • Income taxes

Missouri follows the federal standard when determining how much of wages can be made subject to garnishment. The maximum amount that can be taken is the lesser of 25 percent of your disposable earnings for a given work week, or the amount to which those earnings exceed 30 times the federal minimum wage. 

Having that money taken from your paycheck can put you in real financial bind, particularly if you have others you need to support. Thus, per Missouri’s Office of State Courts, you can have the maximum garnishment amount reduced to 10 percent of your weekly disposable earnings if you are a head of household. If, however, your arrears are for child or spousal support, that amount increases to 50-55 percent.

More information on protecting your wages can be found here on our site.