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Wage Garnishments in Illinois

A wage garnishment is like a blow to your stomach. You get your pay check and $100 or more has been deducted by a creditor. Now, what give? Suddenly you can't pay your rent or a mortgage or a car payment? What do you do?

Consider yourself invited to immediately call ROBERT J ADAMS & ASSOCIATES for a FREE and CONFIDENTIAL consultation. We will discuss your options that are in your best interest.

A wage garnishment is seeking 15% of your gross wages (not net wages), subject to some limitations. If you gross $2,000 per month, the creditor would get $300 of that. That would make your net pay go down from about $1,500 to $1,200 and seriously affect your ability to pay your bills.


In Illinois, lawmakers have left you with few choices when you get a brick on your check.

  1. You can pay the full judgment (not likely);
  2. Offer a repayment plan to the creditor (almost never works);
  3. Quit your job (not a good idea);
  4. Grin and bear it (thinking it will be paid off soon but that may not be true);
  5. File a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy and stop the garnishment now so you can get your finances in order.

A wage garnishment is a court order telling your employer to deduct money. It frequently comes with little or no notice. Very often people don't even know that there has been a money judgment entered against them.

You have to make a quick decision. Once the garnishment hits the money is gone forever.


After a final money judgment is entered creditors serve your employer with either a Wage Deduction Order or a Citation to Discover Assets on a 3rd Party. These are both types of garnishment orders. In addition to giving away your wages, with a 3rd Party Citation, your employer has to give the creditor a treasure trove of information about you if you leave your job. The information includes your next employer if known, bank accounts, home addresses and phone numbers and the like, all so the creditor is better able to hound you for the money.

Your employer is legally bound to honor the garnishment. Failure to comply could make them legally liable for the entire judgment.

When sending the garnishment the creditor will 1) add more court costs ($85 to $145 and sometimes more); 2) plus accrued interest from the date of the judgment and 3) the total amount to be finally paid. The deductions continue every pay day until the judgment is paid in full.

The amount to be deducted is 15% of your gross pay. Bear in mind the 15% is before taxes, insurance, child support, union dues and the like.

The only deduction to the 15% (other than the limits discussed below) would be a child support deduction order. An example would be wage-$600; 15% is $90; child support order is $40, the wage deduction would be $50.


Illinois law has an exemption of 45 times weekly minimum wages ($10 for Chicago, $8.25 for the rest of Illinois). This means you should be able to take home at least $371.25 per week of your disposable income. Disposable income is your gross pay less all payroll taxes and child support payments. In Chicago the minimum wage is now $10.00 per hour, so for Chicago employees this means you should be able to take home at least $450.00 of your disposable income. There is no current change for the rest of Illinois.

If your employer does not deduct for social security (like a substitute teacher) then mandatory retirement is deducted. For purposes of computing disposable income Health Insurance payments are not deducted. Neither are union due, uniform expenses nor repayment of company loans.

Employers don't always get it right and may take out more than they should.


Probably the most effective way of saving your pay check and stopping the garnishment is through a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.

A Chapter 7 is designed to get rid of all or most of your debts to start "fresh" and be on sound financial footing.

A Chapter 13 allows you a reasonable method of repaying your debts including cars, taxes, tickets, etc. The time period can be as long as 60 months, and the plan often reduces the payment to other debts.

Either a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 can be filed quickly and before your next payday to stop the GARNISHMENT for once and for all. Sometimes we can file immediately while you are still in our office.

Our law firm has helped thousands of wagers earners like you save their pay checks.


Wage garnishments do not prevent the creditor from garnishment you bank account or credit union account .If your employer "direct deposits" your pay the creditor can garnish you bank account or credit union account and actually strip you on your entire pay.

If you own a home the creditor can file a judgment lien on your home.

Employers can charge a service fee every pay day.

Overtime pay and bonuses and subject to the garnishment. So even if you earn extra money your creditor benefits.

Employers by law may not fire a person for the first garnishment. There is no protection for the second or succeeding garnishments. Employers can, however, look for other reasons to fire you.

A wage garnishment does not prevent a creditor to pursue other collection techniques.


Child Support Arrears (including Public Aid). The amount of the deduction varies but can be as high as 60% of disposable income. Further if you have Child Support Arrears they can deduct from Unemployment Benefits, Worker's Comp benefits, Social Security benefits, and tax refunds.

Also, one can have their driver's license suspended for Child Support Arrears. 

Student Loans in Default. Wage deductions as described above. However for exemption the standard is $7.25 x 30 or $217.50 per week as opposed to Illinois $371.25 per week.

Unpaid taxes (IRS levies). The amount that the IRS can collect from your pay check depends on how you file (Single, jointly, etc.) and the number of dependents. (See

You can always call us to discuss your problem and discuss your options. Our consultation is free and confidential.

Robert J Adams & Associates has helped thousands of good people, just like you, save their home. Take advantage of our free and confidential consultation today.

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