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What can you possibly do to stop your wages from being garnished?

January 09th 2013

Have you received civil summons recently? Are you living every moment in terror? Are you afraid that the creditor/collection agency will very soon levy your bank account? Well, none of your fears are baseless. There is a huge possibility of wage garnishment if you're unable to handle the court case deftly. However, it'd be wrong to think that everything is lost. You can tackle this tricky situation through some effective ways.

When do you receive civil summons for a debt?

Generally, creditors file a lawsuit against you when they don't receive any payments for several months. Once the lawsuit is filed, the creditor will inform you about it. You'll be notified about the court hearing date too. This way you can be present at the court and defend yourself with proper documents. If the creditor is able to prove that you owe the debt, then the judge will issue wage garnishment order against you.

How can you stop wage garnishment?

There are 2 reasons why people get terrified after receiving civil summons from the court. The first reason is that people think that they would go jail after losing the case. They think police would arrest them. This fear is completely baseless. Most people are not aware that they can't be arrested for not paying back their creditors.

The second reason is the fear of giving away a part of their monthly income to the creditors each month. People are afraid of wage garnishment. Many a times, creditors are successful in obtaining wage garnishment order from the court, and this creates financial problems for the people. Here are the few ways in which they can stop wage garnishment.

1. Offer a monthly payment plan: Debtors can offer a monthly payment plan to the creditors. The creditor is already getting a certain amount from the debtor each month. So, it would be a wise option for the debtor to offer an amount which is much more than what creditor is receiving through wage garnishment. Otherwise, the creditor would not accept the new monthly payment plan. He'll scrap it straightway.

2. File a claim of exemption: If debtors are unable to have the basic necessities in life due to wage garnishment, then they can appeal to the court for vacating the judgment. It wouldn't be so easy. Debtors would have to show the evidence of their monthly wage and expenses to the court. They have to show they are really going through financial hardship. If the judge believes the debtor, then he/she will ask the employer to stop garnishing wages with immediate effect.

3. Make an appeal to the court: Sometimes, it happens that debtors refuse to accept the judgment order. They can appeal to the court to reverse the order within a certain period of time. They can go through the list of instructions in the garnishment paperwork and make an appeal to the court. Debtors have to specify the reasons why they feel garnishment order has to be reversed.

4. Submit the bankruptcy petition: This is probably the last option for the debtors. Bankruptcy prevents the creditors from garnishing the wages of the debtors. If the wage garnishment creates huge financial problem in the life of the debtors, then they can file bankruptcy to get rid of it.

Finally, debtors can pay off the debt in lump sum. Wage garnishment will cease to exist after the debt has been repaid in full. However, it would be in the best interest for the debtors to keep the payment receipts.

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