Wage garnishment in Hawaii is when funds are taken directly from your paycheck and sent to a creditor.  This can happen when you are behind in payments or have made no effort to make any payments to your creditor. In Hawaii, there are limits on how much your creditors can take from your earnings and there are also federal laws that place limits on this amount.  You may be able to choose which one, state or federal, will protect more of your money.

Most of the time, your creditors will have to go to court to get an order of garnishment to be sent to your employer.  However, there are some instances where wages can be garnished without a court order.  These could be if you do not pay your taxes, student loans or if you have to pay child support.  Your wages can also be garnished if you owe back child support.

Wage Garnishment in Hawaii

In Hawaii, you are allowed to choose whether you want to use the state or federal limits on wage garnishments.  For most people, if you make more than minimum wage, you will choose to use Hawaii’s limits as they will allow you to keep more of your money.  These limits are set to be sure you will have enough wages left to live on.  The laws on the limits can be very confusing, so if you are not sure which you should choose, talk to a trusted financial advisor.

While the limits for creditors are set by Hawaii laws, there are special limits for taxes you owe, student loans you have not made payments on, and court ordered child support.  Each of these circumstances has their own set of limits and depends in part on how much money you make.  In the case of child support, it will also depend on how many dependents you have and whether you are current with your payments, or are behind and owe back child support.

You can have more than one wage garnishment against you, but the total of the garnishments cannot be more than the legal limits that have been set.  Hawaii law prohibits any employer from firing you because you have any type of wage garnishment.  Some states will allow employers to let you go if you have more than one garnishment against your wages.

Bankruptcy Halts Wage Garnishment Proceedings

If you file for bankruptcy, all wage garnishments will be stopped until the bankruptcy has been concluded.  Depending on the outcome of your bankruptcy proceeding, the wage garnishment may be taken out of your earnings again.  This may happen if you file Chapter 13 and file a plan for repaying all of your creditors.

Wage garnishments can be confusing.  If you are unsure whether your garnishments are correct, always contact a bankruptcy attorney to help you make sense of them.  In the case of child support, make sure you notify the proper agency if you change jobs or your child has reached the age of 18.  If you do not continue making the payments, a larger garnishment could be set to collect the back support you owe.