A wage garnishment can be one’s worst nightmare, as it allows a creditor to take away a small portion of one’s wages in order to pay debts owed. In the event, you are dealing with a wage garnishment or you’re about to have your wages garnished, it might make you question whether or not you should:
– Hire a lawyer.
– Challenge the garnishment alone.
– Do nothing.
– Take action.
However, whether or not a lawyer gets involved or action needs to be taken depends on a few factors that need to be considered beforehand. With this being said, here’s a look at how a lawyer can help stop your wages from being garnished.
Wage Garnishment Types
One’s wages may be garnished in the event one must pay back student loans, back taxes, spousal and/or child support, or other certain debts. Such categories of garnishments are:
- Garnishments to pay off judgments – It’s possible that a creditor would garnish wages in order to pay a judgment it has against you. For this to happen, the creditor has to file documents with a court, which makes one’s employer pay an amount of their wages in order to take care of the debt.
- Administrative wage garnishments – Depending on the situation, it’s possible that the creditor will garnish one’s wages in order to pay off a debt without a judgment beforehand. These are labeled administrative wage garnishments. In just about all cases, laws mandate that spousal and child support must be collected through garnishments – even in the event the pay is voluntary. Other debts that may be received through administrative wage garnishments could include back taxes and student loans.
Wage Garnishment Options
In the event one is dealing with a wage garnishment, it’s possible that avenues will be pursued to stop it from happening. Usually, the best avenue to pursue would be allowing the wages to be garnished until the debt is paid. However, it may make sense to consider:
– Challenge what’s being garnished alone.
– Try and make right with the creditor.
– Appoint a lawyer to take care of the problem.
However, it’s important to consider such factors if you plan on hiring a lawyer.
- – The debt isn’t owed – If the debt has already been taken care of or the debt wasn’t owed in the first place, consulting a lawyer might be your first action. When the garnishment was first applied, it was the administrative agency or the court that decided the debt was your legal obligation. Due to this, proving that the debt isn’t owed can be very complicated. In such instances, one will definitely require assistance from a lawyer. The lawyer can help gather evidence, prove that the debt isn’t owed, and make procedural requirements. Since the lawyer fees might exceed the debt owed, asking the lawyer up front if the value of their service will exceed the garnishment of wages. A great lawyer will answer honestly.
- The creditor begins garnishing too much – Once one is notified that the garnishment is filed, a packet of information is sent out from the agency or court regarding the wage garnishment. These papers provide information on how much will be garnished from each paycheck. In the event that the garnishment is meant to pay for a judgment, the federal law allows that 25% of one’s wages or amount that exceeds minimum wage by 30 times may be taken out (whichever is less of the scenarios). However, different limits may apply to one’s administrative garnishments. If one thinks the incorrect amount is being garnished, consulting a lawyer may be necessary. If it’s too expensive to hire a lawyer, it’s possible to challenge the amount without a lawyer.
- One wants to make a different payment arrangement with the creditor – Depending on the situation, some creditors would be willing to work with clients if they have issues garnishing wages or know that a client may file for bankruptcy. Entering a voluntary payment plan might even help one avoid wage garnishment. If you can’t negotiate with the creditor, consulting with a lawyer might be the answer.
- One’s employer threatens to fire over garnished wages – In the event, your employer is threatening to fire you over garnished wages, it’s time to consult a lawyer. This act is illegal.
- Creditor is attempting to garnish funds out of a bank account – A creditor isn’t allowed to take out more wages allowed by law, even if those wages are out in your bank account.
Considering the information above, there’s plenty of ways to make a wage garnishment work for you. Thankfully, we’re here to help you in the event the creditor is trying to take more than you have. Contact us today to put a stop to wage garnishment.