Garnishments are legal orders that allow plaintiffs to collect money from your paycheck each pay period in order to pay off a debt. Garnishments can occur from back taxes, child support, student loans and court judgments against you. When the court orders a garnishment, your employer withholds some of your pay and sends it directly to the creditor. Only a certain percentage of your disposable income may be garnished, and if you currently do not make enough to cover your current debts plus your garnishment, the debtor may have to wait until previous debts are paid before the garnishment begins. There are a few things you can do to avoid garnishments from happening.
Keep Bills Current
The most obvious way to avoid garnishments is to maintain your bills. Pay your debts on time and in full, and if you have trouble paying a specific debtor, it's best to contact the company before you get behind. In many cases the individual or company can work with you to ensure your bill is paid and current. If you are behind on child support, the court can modify your court order and reduce the amount you owe. Student loans also have a variety of options available to help you avoid going into default.
Pay Off Bills
Even if you are scheduled for garnishment, you still have an opportunity to pay your bill. If the amount is small or if you can find someone to refinance the amount owed, you can always pay off the debt to avoid the garnishment.
File an Appeal
If you feel the garnishment is unjustified or if you don't think you can afford losing your wages, you can also file an appeal with the court. Make a list of all of your household expenses and bring it with you to court. If you can prove the payments would be impossible to pay or cause a major hardship in your household, you may be able to get the payment reduced.
Ask About Bankruptcy
When you have no other options, but feel you could not work through a wage garnishment, you can also file for bankruptcy. Declaring bankruptcy should only be used as a last resort as it will destroy your credit rating. Once you file a Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy, all action against you must stop.
It is often necessary for a company to file for wage garnishments on and individual if borrowed money is not being paid back. Avoid garnishments and bill problems by creating a budget and sticking with it. Know how much money is coming in, and avoid overspending. For questions about wage garnishments, contact a professional such as Sinsheimer, Stuart J.