Can a Minnesota employer fire an employee for having a wage garnishment?
I have a combined ed federal student loan with my ex-wife. Divorce court ruled that I have to pay it. Her wages have been garnished and I am likely getting sued. I am not the primary on the loan. I am the secondary co-borrower. If I am given a judgment against me. Could it lead to a garnishment of my wages? My Minnesota employer handbook says a garnishment may jeopardize my employment. The child support would not stay current. Currently I have child support taken voluntarily out of my pay. If voluntary. is that already considered a garnishment because I think I can't be fired in Minnesota for one garnishment. Am I correct? The loan in question is large and my income after child support would not be feasible for me to pay. I have been sending payments to her to help offset some of her garnished wages. I have no property or assets. How would you handle this situation?
Garnishment is a court order to an employer to withhold a portion of an employee's wages and to send the money to the court or to the party that won a lawsuit.
Let me address your misinformation regarding garnishments. According to 2009 Minnesota Statutes section 571.927, an employer shall not discharge an employee for a garnishment. There are no specifics in Minnesota law I found that indicate that garnishment alone can lead to discharge. There are requirements on limitations and rules for multiple garnishments but the basic rule is that a Minnesota employer may not terminate employment due to garnishment.
Divorce and Student Loans
A divorce decree does not trump the contract terms in a federal student loan. The contract was agreed to when the loan was signed by you and your (now ex-) wife. It is unfortunate that your ex-wife has a garnishment. Based on the information you provided, you are the cosigner, which means she is the primary loan holder. It is not a big leap to deduce that she defaulted on her student loan payments, thus, the reason for her wages being garnished.
The government does not have to follow court proceedings to get a garnishment on student loans. This is known as adminstrative wage garnishment. Because you are the co-signatory, the government may garnish your wages if her employment ceases. Or, she may sue you for repayment of the loan based on the divorce decree. The lawsuit issue would be best answered by your divorce attorney. It is commendable that you are helping to offset her garnishment by meeting your obligation from the divorce degree. There is no other indication as to why you would be sued.
Child support payments are extremely important both for the well-being of your child but also for your credit rating. Delinquent child support payments may negatively affect your credit rating, as they can be reported to the credit bureaus as a delinquent debt. Your ex-wife could subsequently have your wages garnished if you fail to continue your child support payments.
Though voluntary child support payments are not considered a garnishment, Minnesota takes into consideration child support payments when looking at garnishment maximums. Speak to a Minnesota attorney specializing in credit issues to explore the nuances of Minnesota law if the garnishment links I provided above do not address your questions..
To learn more about this subject, see Advice on How to Stop Garnishment on Student Loans.
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