Having your wages garnished can be a traumatic experience. Many people can’t afford to lose even a fraction of the money they earn, and learning that your paycheck will be short or your bank accounts have been emptied can be a terrifying experience. If your wages have been garnished, don’t panic. You may be able to reduce or remove the garnishment with some experienced legal help.
The first thing that you should do if your wages have been garnished is review any paperwork that you received. You may have received a copy of the judgment that allows the creditor to garnish your wages. Review the judgment, make sure you recognize the creditor and the debt, and ensure that the total amount owed is correct.
If any of the information is incorrect, or if you are unsure of why your wages are being garnished, you should speak with a debt defense attorney immediately. An attorney can verify the debt and ensure that you are legally obligated to pay what the wage garnishment says that you owe.
In addition, an attorney may be able to reduce the amount of money that the creditor can take from your paycheck. Both state and federal law put limits on the amount of money that a creditor can take so that the person being garnished is left with enough income to survive.
For instance, state and federal law prohibits creditors from taking more than 25% of a person’s wages in most cases. In addition, people who qualify as heads of household may be able to protect up to $750 per week in income. An attorney can help you determine if your garnishment can be reduced under these standards.
Once you have had an attorney evaluate your wage garnishment, you are left with several options. You may be able to make a lump-sum payment to the creditor to avoid the wage garnishment. Alternatively, you may be able to work out an alternative payment arrangement that avoids the garnishment directly on your paycheck. Finally, if you cannot remove or reduce the garnishment and the missing money is seriously affecting your ability to survive financially, you may need to file for bankruptcy to remove the garnishment.
Hopefully, you avoid the possibility of having a garnishment action against you or have it dismissed by immediately contacting a qualified debtors’ rights attorney, like those at Fitzgerald Campbell, if you have been sued for a debt, a judgment against you or been threatened with a garnishment action. Our attorneys have decades of experience handling all types of debt defense cases, and we are here to help you!