When you owe debts and aren’t paying on them, the creditor might opt to take you to court. One outcome of this is when the court issues a wage garnishment. This means that the creditor receives a court order to have a portion of your pay sent to them instead of it going to you. This can place a financial hardship on the individual, but it’s sometimes the only way for the creditor to collect on the balance you owe.

Garnishments don’t happen without warning. Instead, they are only done after a court process has found that you do owe the debt and that you haven’t paid. When it comes to garnishments, there are several points that employees need to know.

There are limits to how much of your income can be taken each week by a garnishment. Your earnings include bonuses, salaries, commission, retirement income and hourly wages. One thing that usually doesn’t count is tips that you receive. You should receive a notice of the garnishment and the terms of it so that you know what to expect and how long it will take you to pay it off.

One of the protections that you have when you’re dealing with a garnishment is that your employer can’t terminate you when you have a garnishment for one debt. That protection expires if you’re subjected to a garnishment on a second or subsequent debt.

You shouldn’t ignore demands for payment from creditors. When they file a lawsuit against you, it’s imperative that you determine what options you have for handling the debt. Bankruptcy might be an option to consider, so think carefully before you come to any decisions.