There are many consequences to owing a significant amount of consumer debt. You may be dealing with phone calls from creditors, past–due notices in the mail and even warnings of wage garnishment. If you are too far behind on your payments, you may feel as if there is no way you could ever get ahead and move forward from this frustrating situation.
Wage garnishment is a type of debt collection method employed by creditors who have been unsuccessful in collecting payment in other ways. The creditor will ask for a court order, and when obtained, they can go straight to your employer to have him or her withhold a portion of your earned wages. This may feel like a violation of your rights, but it is perfectly legal. Thankfully, there are things you can do that may stop the garnishment process and help you regain your financial stability.
The garnishment process
After getting notice of a judgment from the court, your employer will hold back a portion of your wages until you’ve paid off the debt completely. In a wage garnishment, your employer has a legal requirement to cooperate until full payment of the debt. There are federal limits on the amount your employer can withhold. This will depend on your income and other factors, including whether you are currently paying child support.
You must receive notice of a wage garnishment, allowing you time to dispute it. If there is a problem or you believe it’s inaccurate, you can challenge the judgment. Your employer cannot fire you for having one wage garnishment, but if you have more than one, it could compromise your employment. One way you can protect yourself from wage garnishment is to file for bankruptcy. Because of the automatic stay, this process cannot continue while you are under bankruptcy protection.
Your financial future
If you are facing the threat of wage garnishment, you are likely struggling with your financial circumstances. Bankruptcy may not be your first choice, but it could be the right way to secure a better financial future for yourself. If creditors are threatening to take some of your income, it may be beneficial for you to learn more about the different bankruptcy options available to you and which chapter is most appropriate for your specific financial concerns.