If you are nervous that your wages are going to be garnished or if you have received a notice of wage garnishment, you know that it’s a very unsettling possibility. But do you know what wage garnishment is and did you know there are ways to stop it?
What is Wage Garnishment?
Wage garnishment is a court order requiring an individual’s employer to withhold a specific amount from an employee’s pay and instead send it directly to one of that employee’s creditors. In the majority of cases, before garnishing wages, a creditor is required to get a judgment from the court.
How Does Wage Garnishment Happen?
If a creditor (like a bank or credit card company) sues one of their debtors for nonpayment, and they win, they receive a judgment against that debtor. The judgment gives the creditor the power to request a court order for wage garnishment. If the court grants the request, that wage garnishment order is sent to the debtor’s employer.
Can You Stop Wage Garnishment?
If you receive a notice of wage garnishment, you have a few options: 1) file an exemption claim with the court, 2) attempt to negotiate a payment plan with the creditor directly, 3) challenge the wage garnishment, or 4) file bankruptcy. If the wage garnishment has already started, you can attempt to talk to your creditor and request an altered payment plan, try to challenge the judgment, etc. but you’re not in the driver’s seat. The creditor seeking a judgment is in the driver’s seat in these scenarios. If they don’t allow you to make voluntary payments in exchange for stopping the garnishment, you can’t force them. However, you do have the option to file bankruptcy to stop the garnishment.
Filing Bankruptcy to Stop Wage Garnishment:
Bankruptcy is not the right choice universally, but when your wages are being garnished, it is often the best path back toward financial health and stability. While the automatic stay that goes into effect immediately upon filing bankruptcy stops almost all wage garnishments, there are a few exceptions. Domestic support obligations are one example. Domestic support obligation wage garnishments will survive a bankruptcy filing.
If you need help filing bankruptcy, or you have questions about wage garnishment, call Kenneth C. Rannick P.C., Tennessee, and Georgia bankruptcy attorney to ask about getting a fresh financial start. We help good people through bad times.