Wage garnishment occurs when a court orders your employer to withhold a portion of your paycheck and send it to a specific person or creditor. Some common examples of wage garnishment include child support, student loans, and consumer debts. In most cases, your wages will continue to be garnished until the debt is resolved or paid back.
If you are experiencing wage garnishment, it is essential to be aware of your legal rights and take steps to remedy any negative effects to your relationship with your employer. The best way to ensure your rights are protected is to work with a debt settlement attorney. Outlined below is some important information about wage garnishment and what you can do about it.
Wage Garnishments and Lawsuits
The majority of wage garnishments start with a lawsuit. When a lawsuit is filed against you by a creditor or other party for wage garnishment, a court will determine whether you are liable for the debts for which the party sued you and whether the party has the right to collect the money. Most commonly, creditors will collect owed money by garnishing wages, levying bank accounts, or placing a lien on the property of the defendant.
What Is a Writ of Garnishment?
In order to levy or garnish your account, a creditor will serve your bank with a legal document referred to as a Writ of Garnishment. Upon receiving this notice, the bank is legally required to freeze the money in your account and start the wage garnishment process, which involves taking money from your account and providing it to a creditor.
Filing a Claim of Exemption
Once a wage garnishment is in place, your bank and creditor will notify you. Once your creditor provides you with a Writ of Garnishment, you have 10 days to file a Claim of Exemption.
Wage garnishment exemptions are a form of protection that stops creditors from pursuing certain kinds of income or caps the amount they can take from your wages. These exemptions are intended to ensure a person experiencing wage garnishment has enough money to cover basic living expenses. Depending on your finances and circumstances, you may be able to partially or fully protect your income from being garnished. There are certain types of income that are usually fully exempt—with some exceptions—from being garnished. These include:=
- Social Security
- Alimony and child support
In the large majority of cases, wages from your job are always eligible for garnishment. Debtors who are in lower income brackets may be able to keep their wages from being garnished whereas high-earning debtors are less likely to receive an exemption.
The best way to get an exemption is to work with an attorney. An attorney can help you determine if you are eligible for an exemption and assist you with the filing process. Once a claim is filed, the court will set a hearing date to determine if any portion of the funds in your account are exempt.
Contact a Skilled Debt Settlement Lawyer
If you have received a notice of wage garnishment, it is imperative to take action in a timely manner. Wage garnishment can negatively impact your credit score and employment and, in some cases, result in termination from your job. Therefore, it is imperative to get on top of the situation as soon as possible to minimize any negative effects.
At McCarthy Law, we are dedicated to helping our clients facing wage garnishment navigate their financial circumstances and reach a favorable debt settlement. We understand the overwhelming burden that debt creates and are committed to helping our clients resolve their debts and restart their lives. To schedule a consultation with one of our skilled debt settlement attorneys, call (855) 976-5777 or fill out our online contact form.
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