Creditors can be relentless and ruthless when it comes to collecting on debts. They use every tool at their disposal, including letters, phone calls, and social media harassment. This takes a great mental toll on people struggling to repay their debts. Unfortunately, some debtors find themselves in the difficult situation of seeing their wages garnished for the benefit of a creditor.
What is Wage Garnishment?
Not to be confused with garnishment due to unpaid tax or child support obligations, the wage garnishment we refer to here occurs when a creditor obtains a court order against a debtor, which mandates an employer to withhold a specific amount of the debtor’s paycheck.
The prospect of wage garnishment is serious, and a court can garnish between 10% to 25% of your disposable income, depending on your income relative to the federal poverty index. Either way, having a significant chunk of your paycheck taken by creditors can really worsen an already bad financial situation.
Don’t Wait to Seek Help
It takes a court order for a creditor to garnish your wages. In order to obtain a court order, the creditor must file a lawsuit and comply with your due process rights by serving you with the lawsuit. Only after you have been served does a court generally have “jurisdiction”, or the ability to enter valid orders against you. In plain English, it takes time and fair warning before a creditor can get your wages garnished.
If a court has not ordered your wages garnished, then it is essential to act now and speak to a bankruptcy attorney before an order is issued. This will afford you the opportunity to seek bankruptcy relief, which comes with an automatic stay. This is a big deal as it stops creditors cold, prevents another court from issuing a wage garnishment order, and can thereby allow you to avoid wage garnishment altogether.
And if your wages are already being garnished resulting from a creditor lawsuit, a bankruptcy attorney can still help you. Using the automatic stay in bankruptcy, an attorney can help you stop existing wage garnishment actions. This will require that your employer stop withholding your pay, thereby stopping that creditor from taking any more money from your paycheck.
You Need an Attorney to Defend Your Legal Rights
Wage garnishment is a big deal, and can really damage your ability to make ends meet. If your wages have been garnished, you need the help of a bankruptcy attorney. For thirty years, the attorneys at Levitt & Slafkes, P.C., have successfully guided clients through their debt relief options, helping them move into brighter financial prospects. Let our intelligent, experience, and passion move you forward. Contact us by telephone at (973) 323-2953 to schedule a consultation, or contact us online.