How to Stop Wage Garnishment

I am often asked "how to stop wage garnishment?" Well, obviously the best method is to avoid wage garnishment in advance. Otherwise, to know how to stop wage garnishment first get to know the wage garnishment laws and how wage garnishment works.

Before your credit can get a court order to garnish your wages (writ of garnishment), they have to first obtain a judgment for your failure to pay your debt. There are some exceptions to this rule, like certain Government backed defaulted student loans. Otherwise, you have to first be given an opportunity to appear in court to defend yourself.

So if you're served with a summons and complaint regarding a delinquent debt, don't ignore it. Either file an answer yourself, or if possible, hire an attorney. If you decide to handle it yourself, make sure you respond in time and appear at the hearing.

How to stop wage garnishment...Negotiate in Court

Sometimes it may be possible to negotiate a settlement with your creditor right at the courthouse. Also, many times your creditor, especially debt collection agencies, won't have adequate documentation to prove the validity of the debt obligation. So just by appearing, there may be an opportunity to get the case dismissed.

However, if the judge enters a judgment against you, before your creditor can proceed with getting a court order to garnish your wages, there is usually a hearing scheduled for the court to determine what assets you have available and whether you can pay the judgment.

At this hearing, the creditor will ask you questions about your assets and income. The purpose is to determine what you have available to pay the judgment.

There are federal and state wage garnishment laws designed to protect you. Wage garnishment laws define what is exempt from garnishment. If it's determined at the hearing that you can't pay, the judge will not issue a court order to garnish your wages or money from your bank accounts.

But if you have assets that are eligible for garnishment, the judge will enter an order for your creditor to garnish your wages and/or bank accounts (a writ of garnishment). Your creditor can then proceed to apply to your employer or bank to receive payment of the judgment.

How to stop wage garnishment...Check State Garnishment Laws

But the amount of wage garnishment can vary from state to state. So you need to check your state's wage garnishment laws to see how much they can take. If an excessive amount is entered, you can file a petition to request the court to reconsider the writ of garnishment and stop wage garnishment.

How to stop wage garnishment...Bankruptcy Protection

However, the most effective way to stop wage garnishment is to file for Chapter 7 (Liquidation) or Chapter 13 (Wage Earner's Plan) bankruptcy protection. Once you file your bankruptcy petition, an automatic stay immediately goes into effect and prevents your creditor from garnishing your wages.

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