Wage Garnishment / Wisconsin / Calculator

Wisconsin Wage Garnishment Calculator

Written by Ben Tejes
Updated Sep 20th, 2022

You may have received a garnishment notice from your employer and wonder whether a wage garnishment calculator can help you estimate how much you will be garnished in Wisconsin. 

Wage garnishment in Wisconsin is different from many other states, so how much will you be garnished?

Below is the Wisconsin wage garnishment that estimates how much you may be garnished. You can also compare 3 different options, how to stop wage garnishment, and the cost of those options. The calculator is free and does not even require an email address unless you’d like a free review of the data. Please note that this Wisconsin garnishment calculator is an estimate based on the laws below and may be different from the actual garnishment amount.

How Wage Garnishment in Wisconsin is Calculated

There are some states that do not allow wage garnishment, so those would not be in the calculator. Here are the specific Wisconsin wage garnishment laws that are factored into the WI wage garnishment calculator above.

"By law, you are entitled to an exemption of not less than 80% of your disposable earnings. If the garnishment in either situation below would result in the income of your household being below the poverty line, the garnishment is limited to the amount of your household’s income in excess of the poverty line. Those two situations are: 1. Garnishment of 20% of your disposable earnings, or; 2. Garnishment of the amount by which disposable earnings exceed thirty times the federal minimum hourly wage. There are no exemptions to this garnishment if the debt arises out of one of the following obligations: 1. A debt amortization under §128.21 or a bankruptcy order under 11 USC 1301 to 1330. 2. For the support of any person; or, 3. Unpaid taxes."

Please note that garnishment laws may change from time to time.

Would the Garnishment Calculator Results be the Same in Milwaukee as Green Bay?

Let’s say that Milwaukee has a higher minimum wage than Green Bay or even that of Wisconsin. For example, Wisconsin minimum wage is $7.25. Could the calculation be different?

Many states take into consideration the federal minimum wage, and some states such as Maine may take into consideration state minimum wage, but that doesn’t mean the Wisconsin wage garnishment calculator would be different.

How Do Employers Calculate Wage Garnishment in Wisconsin?

Employers in Wisconsin may use the employer wage garnishment calculator to help estimate the garnishments amount for employees. Please note that the calculator feels a bit complex and not as simple to use.

Understanding Wisconsin Higher Order Priority in the Calculation 

First, the creditor requests a writ of execution from the Wisconsin court. Check an example Wisconsin writ of execution. Next, the court attaches an earnings withholdings to the write, which authorizes your employer to hold back money from your earnings.

Let’s say you have multiple earning withholding orders in Wisconsin that could include child support or alimony. Here’s the specific priority for the garnishment calculation in Wisconsin:

  1. Wage and Earnings Assignment Order for Support
  2. Earnings Withholding for Support
  3. Earnings Withholding for Taxes
  4. Earnings Withholding for Elder or Dependent Adult Financial Abuse
  5. Earnings Withholding Order
Please note that some states such as Texas, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and South Carolina do not have wage garnishment orders for unpaid debt judgments.

Now that we understand how the wage garnishment calculator works, let’s talk about how to stop wage garnishment in Wisconsin.

Options to Stop Wage Garnishment in Wisconsin

There are a few options that you can pursue to potentially stop a wage garnishment. The wage garnishment calculator provides the option to compare your different options to stop a garnishment.

File an Objection or Exemption

First, you can try to object to the wage garnishment. When you receive your garnishment documents, you can find instructions on how to object to the garnishment including filing deadlines. If not, you can reach out to the clerk of the court or contact a lawyer to help.

You may also attempt to claim an exemption to the garnishment in some states as well.

In Wisconsin, you’d file this garnishment exemption form to request an exemption from your garnishment. Please note that this may be difficult to receive.

If you are judgement proof by just having social security income, check out our sample letter to stop wage garnishment.

File For Bankruptcy

Filing for bankruptcy in Wisconsin may eliminate a wage garnishment a judgment related to unpaid debt, especially in those instances when individuals are already living paycheck to paycheck. There are two common consumer bankruptcies to consider.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Wisconsin is the most affordable and most common bankruptcy in the United States. It is also the fastest, but you could lose assets if the equity that you own in that assets is about the Wisconsin bankruptcy exemptions.

You also may have to qualify via the Wisconsin bankruptcy means test. Below are the Wisconsin median income guidelines for bankruptcy cases filed on or after May 15, 2022. Please note you would add an additional $9,900 for household sizes greater than 9.

# of PeopleAnnual Income
1$57,934
2$76,493
3$92,586
4$109,919
5$119,819
6$129,719
7$139,619
8$149,519
9$159,419

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

A Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Wisconsin is a payment plan based bankruptcy. It often lasts 3 or 5 years, and you can often protect your assets in bankruptcy even if they are above the exemption. You may consider a Chapter 13 bankruptcy if some of the payments from the wage garnishment would not be discharged in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

If you are considering a Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Wisconsin, you may also want to compare that option to debt settlement. While you don’t have creditor protection in debt settlement, this option can sometimes be cheaper and faster than a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

How much does it cost to file bankruptcy in Wisconsin?

You may have taken the wage garnishment calculator and see that it would take out too much of your pay, but now you are wondering whether you could even afford bankruptcy. Thankfully, most attorneys take payment plans for the attorney fees. Some attorneys take most of the Chapter 13 bankruptcy payments in the plan.

While the cost to file bankruptcy in Wisconsin is less expensive for the Chapter 13 ($313 vs $338), the attorney fees may be triple what you would pay for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Please note that the filing fees can be waived if your income is below certain poverty thresholds. Here’s the Wisconsin poverty thresholds below.

# of People150% Poverty Guideline
1$13,590
2$18,310
3$23,030
4$27,750
5$32,470
6$37,190
7$41,910
8$46,630
9$51,350
* Add $4,720 for each individual in excess of 9.

Negotiate a Settlement

You may attempt to negotiate a settlement if it’s an unpaid debt. That said, the creditor has the upper hand generally in this position, so you may not get a major discount from the owed debt. Realistically, you may not be able to negotiate a settlement or backpay for support such as spousal or child support.

What Should You Do?

One question to consider is whether you can afford the amount being taken from your paycheck and understand the duration of how much will be taken.

For example, let’s say you live in Milwaukee or Madison and are dealing with rental inflation, gas, and food. Let’s say you aren’t able to afford the garnishment. In that case, someone may consider an option such as bankruptcy.

If you are able to afford the garnishment, others may allow it to run its course or try to negotiate. Regardless, you can take the wage garnishment calculator for Wisconsin to inform your decision.