South Carolina Wage Garnishing Laws

By Tom Streissguth

The state of South Carolina enforces wage garnishment laws that are among the most restrictive in the nation. A private party cannot enforce a judgment on a debtor in the state by garnishing, or attaching, wages -- a process that is available only to public agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service. Federal law applied in South Carolina also limits the amount a creditor may withhold from your paycheck.

The state of South Carolina enforces wage garnishment laws that are among the most restrictive in the nation. A private party cannot enforce a judgment on a debtor in the state by garnishing, or attaching, wages -- a process that is available only to public agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service. Federal law applied in South Carolina also limits the amount a creditor may withhold from your paycheck.

Consumer Debt and Federal Law

If you owe money to a bank, mortgage lender or credit card company, you are carrying private party consumer debt. Falling behind on payments can bring threats of legal action from the creditor, often beginning with friendly notices, continuing with unpleasant phone calls and ending with a day in court as the defendant in a civil lawsuit. A federal law known as Title III of the Consumer Credit Protection Act limits the amount of money that can be garnished from your wages: the lesser of 25 percent of your net earnings or the amount exceeding 30 times the federal minimum wage, which is $7.25 an hour, as of 2012.

Get a free, confidential bankruptcy evaluation. Learn More

South Carolina Law

The states have a constitutional right to pass their own laws regarding loans, consumer debt and other financial matters. In South Carolina, the state wage garnishment law is even more restrictive than the federal law: private lenders may not garnish wages at all for outstanding consumer debt, installment loans and the like. The law even applies to judgments won in the state's courts. But, if a resident of South Carolina moved from another state in which there is a valid judgment against him, South Carolina law allows wage garnishment to satisfy that judgment.

Public Agency Debts

South Carolina permits wage garnishment by certain public agencies, including the Internal Revenue Service which may garnish your wages for unpaid taxes. The state also allows anyone attempting to collect on a federally guaranteed student loan to garnish wages, and note that student loans are not dischargeable in bankruptcy. Child support agencies in South Carolina as well as other states can enforce overdue child support payments through wage garnishment. By the Consumer Credit Protection Act, child support garnishments can amount to 65 percent of disposable income if the non-paying parent is over 12 weeks in arrears; 60 percent if less than 12 weeks. If the non-paying parent has a second family to support, these percentages fall to 55 and 50, respectively

Employers and Garnishment

Of course, even the threat of wage garnishment is an unpleasant experience for both employee and employer. If you hear a wrongful or untruthful statement from a debt collector regarding wage garnishment, you can take legal action for violation of federal and state laws regarding collections. South Carolina law bars employers from terminating employees for garnishment, and a similar federal law protects anyone subject to a single wage garnishment -- although not multiple garnishments -- from termination.

Get a free, confidential bankruptcy evaluation. Learn More
What Is the Law Regarding Multiple Wage Garnishments in Illinois?

References

Related articles

What Law Stops Lawsuit Proceedings Due to Bankruptcy?

If your debts are spiraling out of control, you have the option to petition for bankruptcy protection under federal law. The bankruptcy code allows you a fresh start while protecting you from harassment and lawsuits by your creditors. A vital provision in the law, set forth in 11 USC § 362, provides for an automatic stay that bars creditors from taking action against you while your bankruptcy is in progress.

Does Filing for Bankruptcy Stop Wage Garnishments?

It's an unfortunate fact of life: when you're most down on your luck, creditors tend to pile on, demanding payment and using the law to get it. Wage garnishments occur when creditors go to court and get a judgment against you, allowing them to take what you owe directly from your pay. Your employer is legally obligated to withhold a percentage of your paycheck every week and send that money to your creditor, leaving you even more unable to meet necessary living expenses. Federal law protects you against wage garnishment to some extent.

California Laws on the Interception of a Tax Refund for Child Support Arrears

If you have a child support order under California law, you have the right to have the order enforced through tax refund interception. Since 1993, California's Franchise Tax Board has had the authority to enforce child support orders through the interception of tax refunds due from the state as well as the Internal Revenue Service. This, along with other remedies, are available to the custodial parent if the non-custodial parent is not paying court-ordered child support or paying less than the amount ordered.

Related articles

The Effects of Chapter 13 on Wage Garnishment

You may be considering filing for bankruptcy if your indebtedness is so severe that your wages are being garnished by ...

Colorado Rules for Wage Garnishments

When you cannot pay your debts, some of your creditors may seek to garnish your wages, receiving a portion of your ...

New York Bankruptcy Automobile Surrender Laws

Under federal bankruptcy law, a debtor may file for protection from creditors while a court oversees his financial ...

Florida Bankruptcy Laws and Civil Judgment

Most debt resulting from civil judgments -- such as judgments relating to consumer and business debt -- can be ...

Browse by category