If you are just making ends meet, getting a notice that you are being sued for a debt and that your wages may be garnished is devastating news. However, having an advocate on your side may help you improve your outcomes. We’re sharing whether a wage garnishment lawyer can stop your wages from being garnished and what they can do for you.
Wage garnishment is a method of debt collection in which your employer receives an order to withhold a portion of your paycheck in order to pay off a debt. This method of debt collection is used for:
Domestic payments and money owed to the government, such as federal student loans or taxes don’t require a court order to garnish your wages. Additionally, it is extremely difficult to discharge student loans and back taxes in bankruptcy or other matters. However, creditors of unsecured, outstanding debts do have to get a court order.
Your creditor, typically a bank or other financial institution, will file a civil lawsuit against you if you fail to pay off your debt. You’ll receive notice of a hearing, and it is important to attend. Failing to attend your hearing means you are basically forfeiting your right to defend yourself or negotiate on your behalf. What will happen in this case is that the debt collector will ask for a default judgment against you so they can begin garnishing your wages, which can be up to 25 percent of your disposable income.
By showing up to your hearing, you may be able to negotiate a lower payment plan or a lower lump debt settlement. Trying to negotiate on your own is challenging because the debt collector may refuse to accept a lower amount and feels they have the upper hand. If the creditor does not accept a negotiation and the court orders a garnishment, you will receive a copy and have 20 days to file an exemption. If the exemption for your wage garnishment is not approved, your employer is legally obligated to garnish your paycheck.
Instead of trying to work through this on your own, having a wage garnishment lawyer on your side can help you get a better outcome.
Having a legal advocate in court means that you have someone who is watching out for you and working to get the best outcome. An attorney can use your financial information to negotiate a debt settlement or repayment plan, or can even work to have the case against you dismissed and the debt canceled.
The law has very set rules and guidelines for debt collection, including timelines for collecting a debt, how much can be garnished, and even tacking on additional fees after the debt has been paid. An attorney can help you gather evidence to determine if the debt collection is legal and may be able to prove that you don’t owe a debt.
If you are unable to settle your debt in court and a judgement is placed against you, a wage garnishment lawyer can help you to file an exemption. This prevents certain income, including social security, retirement, or child support from being garnished. Your lawyer can also dig into your financial information to determine whether you have the disposable income available that can be garnished. Often disposable income is much lower than your actual take-home pay, and an experienced lawyer will look at how your garnishment can be reduced or cancelled.
If you are struggling to pay several debts and different creditors are threatening to sue, your lawyer can discuss whether it would be more financially beneficial to file for bankruptcy. During Chapter 7 bankruptcy, all wage garnishment has to stop immediately while your lawyer helps you discharge your debts to provide you with a clean slate.
If you have received a notice that you are being sued for a debt or that your wages are being garnished, Stiberman Law can help stop or prevent your paycheck from taking a hit. Reach out to us today for a free consultation by calling (954) 922-2283 or filling out the form below to get started.
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