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Wisconsin Wage Garnishment

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Mark Cappel
UpdatedJul 9, 2024
Key Takeaways:
  • Wisconsin is a community property state. Generally speaking, a spouse has liability for the other spouse's debts in community property states. If the creditor sues both spouses regarding a debt and prevails, the creditor can get a judgment against either

Can my husband's wages be garnished for my debt?

I live in Wisconsin. I think a garnishment of my wages may happen. What percentage can be garnished from my wages? This is a civil suit. I am married and need to know if my husband's wages can be garnished for the same debt?

See the resource Wisconsin Collection Laws for a general overview of the rights and liabilities of consumers under Wisconsin law.

Regarding your spouse's exposure to liability for your debt, that is dependent on the facts of each situation. Wisconsin is a community property state. Generally speaking, a spouse has liability for the other spouse's debts in community property states. If the creditor sues both spouses regarding a debt and prevails, the creditor can get a judgment against either or both spouses in that situation. However, if the creditor sues only one spouse, it cannot get a judgment against both spouses.

Therefore, a creditor with a judgment against a spouse may garnish the wages of that spouse, but not the other.

Joint financial accounts may be levied (called attachment in Wisconsin). Therefore, in a situation where a spouse expects to be a defendant in a lawsuit, the spouses should close all joint accounts to limit any exposure to attachment of funds in joint accounts.

If you reside in another state, see the Wage Garnishment article to learn more. I hope this information helps you Find. Learn & Save.



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BBill, Nov, 2013
I am trying to garnish someone's wages for a wedding that i provided my catering services for. I have a judgment against him which he never showed for court both times which I was awarded. The wedding was in April 2013. Agreement was made in good faith before April 20th wedding that I would provide our catering services. Payment was not rendered. Partial payment was made for $300.00 on May 15th. Total was 712.50. Final payment was to be sent when party got next work check in two weeks. Contacted parties in late May when check did not arrive, said I was willing to work with parties. Calls were never returned in June hence forcing me to take parties to court for unpaid balance of wedding. Now he says he is under the poverty level. We have a hearing in Dec. Can he wages be totally exempt? If so then what? How do I re coupe my money then? Thanks
BBill, Nov, 2013
If a judgment-debtor's income is from a protected source, e.g., Social Security Disability, or below the amount that can be attached by a judgment-creditor, there may or may not be ways to collect. A bank levy could take place, depending on the state laws and the source of the funds in the account. A lien could be filed, encumbering the judgment-debtor's property, if a sale were to take place. In some states, assets could be seized to satisfy the debt. The best source of information would be a lawyer in your area, but the size of the debt makes hiring a lawyer not cost-effective.
aamber, Feb, 2013
My wages are being threatened to be garnished in Wisconsin. I just moved to arizona. How ever im thinking im make under the federal poverty line. But im not sure what the federal poverty line is?
BBill, Feb, 2013
If you intend to make Arizona your new state of residence, and are in the state's borders physically, you are a resident of that state. Almost certainly, Arizona's debt collection rules apply to you.

Under federal law, whether you are above or below the poverty line is of no consequence to a court deciding how much a judgment-creditor may garnish from your wages. According to the Consumer Credit Protection Act (CCPA), you may have your wages garnished if your weekly disposable income is more than 30 times the minimum wage. Follow the hyperlink I just mentioned to learn more about Arizona's limits to the CCPA, and the article Wage Garnishment to learn the general rules.
DDeb, Jun, 2011
I live in Wisconsin. I had a money judgement against me for credit card debt. I had my wages garnished.The original money judgement fee,service fee,docketing fee and filing fee with a total money judgement of $$4569.33 On top of that, each 13 week garnishment pay period I had to pay a post judgement interest fee and estimated costs of this earnings garnishment fee. Am I still intitled to pay additional attorney fees that the debtor claims they paid?
BBill, Jun, 2011
Consult with a Wisconsin lawyer who has consumer law experience to learn if a) the garnishment is in accordance with Wisconsin law, and b) if the fees you are required to pay are legal. If you cannot afford a lawyer, call your county bar association and ask for the name of the local organization that provides no-cost legal services to low- and no-income residents. Make an appointment with that organization, and bring all of the documents relating to your debt and judgment to your meeting. The lawyer you meet will review your documents, and advise you accordingly.
JJayne, May, 2011
I have a property that is going through foreclosure and currently in the redemption period. The bank is refusing to work with me or listen to the recommendations of their attorney because they feel they can collect from me (or my assumption is from my husband). The property was purchased during my first marriage so my current husband has nothing to do with it, but I am unemployed and he is not. We have no joint assets together and have shown the bank our premarital agreement, but they still will not work with us. I don't see how they could garnish my husband's wages. Am I missing something?
BBill, May, 2011
I assume you are a Wisconsin resident. Wisconsin adopted community property laws in the mid 1980s. Consult with a Wisconsin lawyer who has experience with family law to learn if your spouse has liability for a judgment filed against you. Ask about Wisconsin's bankruptcy exemptions and how they apply to you. If your spouse has no liability, then continue to negotiate with the mortgage servicer and hammer home how Wisconsin law shields your spouse from liability. Explain that you want to resolve the debt amicably, but if the mortgage servicer takes its sharp negotiating tactics to a logical extreme you are prepared to file for bankruptcy. Remember, you have what they want.