Wage Garnishment in South Carolina-NOT!
Written by Spartanburg Bankruptcy Lawyer, Däna Wilkinson
There is no wage garnishment statute in South Carolina. That’s right–none, nada, zippo. Despite the fact that every debt collector out there will do his level best to convince you otherwise, most private creditors have no ability to garnish wages in South Carolina.
Note that I said private. Obviously, government creditors (like the IRS, for taxes, or student loans that have been guaranteed by the government) have the ability to garnish wages. Your wages can also be garnished in South Carolina (and pretty much anywhere else, too) for child support. But most creditors, including credit card companies, finance companies, and medical providers, cannot garnish your wages in South Carolina.
If you were a resident of another state that allows wage garnishment, and a court there issued a garnishment order, and then you moved to South Carolina, you may be subject to garnishment, but note that there are a lot of “ifs” in that sentence. The court that issued that order must have had jurisdiction over you at the time the order was entered, among other procedural issues, so many such orders are subject to attack. If you receive an out-of-state garnishment order, talk to your employer about it, talk to a lawyer about it, and talk to the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs and Department of Labor about it as well. You may have defenses to such an order.
Most South Carolina residents will never see a garnishment order, although practically every creditor that calls you will make that threat. If you receive a wage garnishment order, whether it’s an out-of-state order, or from the IRS, it is a good idea to immediately consult a lawyer about such an order. There are options, like bankruptcy, which will stop a garnishment. There are also procedures which may reduce the amount of the garnishment. Finally, and especially with out-of-state orders, there may be ways to attack the way the order was issued. Which of those approaches will best serve your needs depends on your overall financial situation–your other obligations, your income, and your budget. Only an attorney can explain all your options.