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How much can be taken through wage garnishment?

If your ex is ordered to pay alimony or child support and then he or she does not pay, wage garnishment can sometimes be used to get back the money that is owed. This is a preferred method because the wages are garnished before they pass from the employer to the employee, so there is no way for your ex to stop that money from coming to you.

It is important to know that there are some limits on wage garnishment that are set up by Title III of the Consumer Credit Protection Act. You're not likely going to get all of the money that is owed at once. The two basic limits are:

-- 50 percent of the total personal earnings. This can be done if your ex has remarried and then he or she is supporting the second family. If your spouse is supporting a child, the 50 percent limit is also used.

-- 60 percent of the total personal earnings. This limit is used when your ex is not married and does not have a child or a family to support.

In addition, it's important to note that an extra 5 percent could be added on to the above if the payment totals have been in arrears for at least 12 weeks. This means the maximum total that could be reached is 65 percent of the earnings from each paycheck.

As you can see, the amount that can be deducted is quite significant and could have a huge impact on your life. It's very important to know when wage garnishment can be used and how the legal process works in Massachusetts.

Source: Love to Know, "Garnishment of Wages after Divorce," Jodee Redmond, accessed June 03, 2016

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