Three Potential Actions To Take Regarding Garnishment

Posted on: 11 April 2016

If your wages are now being garnished for a debt that you agree that you owe but just haven't been able to pay, you have to take action. Which action you take will depend on your goals and how badly the garnishment is affecting your ability to support yourself. Here's a look at three possible things you can do if you've been hit with wage garnishment.

Check for a Demand Letter

If your wages are being garnished and you have not seen any demand letter (a last-chance letter from the creditor stating your wages are about to be garnished), check your state and city's laws regarding these letters. Some states require creditors to send this letter, which allows you the opportunity to contact the creditor to work out a deal first. New York is one such state.

Other states, such as Texas, may restrict garnishment and only allow it in certain circumstances. If you find your wages are being garnished for debts other than the ones deemed acceptable by Texas law, you need to contact a lawyer specializing in debt collections now.

Apply for a Claim of Exemption

Some state, like California, allow you to file something called a claim of exemption, which allows you to ask for a reduced garnishment. These are meant to help you keep enough income so you can eat, pay your rent, and generally support yourself and your family. There are cases where you would not be able to get an exemption, and some of these may seem subjective, such as whether or not what you were buying with your wages constituted luxury items. But with good documentation, you can quickly find out if you qualify for an exemption.

Declare Bankruptcy

A drastic but effective solution, declaring bankruptcy halts garnishments once the creditor and the court get notified that you're filing for bankruptcy. You may end up still having to pay some of the debt if your bankruptcy is one in which your debt is reduced and not eliminated. But the garnishment is no longer an issue in this case. Still, bankruptcy has other repercussions, and you should exhaust other avenues to stop or reduce the garnishment first.

If you need help determining what your state requires and allows to stop or reduce garnishment, or if you want to know more about bankruptcy, contact a debt collection and bankruptcy lawyer, like Sinsheimer, Stuart J, immediately. Don't let this situation go on when there are likely avenues that could help you solve the situation instead.