Actions To Take When Your Wages Have Been Garnished
Arizona Bankruptcy Lawyer’s Guide To Overcome a Garnishment Of Wages
Your creditors won’t call and mail letters forever. Eventually, they will get tired of asking you to pay what you owe and will take whatever actions are available to them to collect. Sometimes, that might mean simply selling your debt to a collection agency, which will then resume calling and sending letters. Sometimes, your creditors might pursue legal action, which can include seizing your assets or garnishing your wages.
If you have received notice that your wages are going to be garnished, or if garnishment has already begun, the best thing you can do is call a Tucson bankruptcy attorney right away. You may be able to put an end to the garnishment by filing for bankruptcy, which will trigger an automatic stay that halts any legal action.
Here’s a look at what the process leading to garnishment is like and what you can do at each step:
Lawsuit & Judgement
The first step your creditor will have to take to garnish your wages is to file a lawsuit against you. That won’t happen without you knowing it. You will be served official notice that the lawsuit has been filed, and there will be information about what the creditor says you owe and what the creditor wants to happen (that you pay immediately, that your wages be garnished, or so on).
Before the creditor can get a judgement against you, the case will have to move through the court system. That means that you have time to file a response and to put an end to the lawsuit. You can try to hire a lawyer and argue your case, but if you owe the money, chances are not good that you’ll prevail. Instead, you can call a bankruptcy attorney and explore your options for bankruptcy. You may be able to get the debt discharged in bankruptcy or have it included in a debt repayment plan.
The Writ Of Garnishment
The court will issue a writ of garnishment if it rules in your creditor’s favor. That document will be presented to your employer or your bank account to start the garnishment. You will know that the writ of garnishment has been issued, and you should take action quickly if you want to put a stop to it.
The automatic stay that is triggered by filing for bankruptcy will immediately block the writ of garnishment. The block won’t stay in place forever. It will only stay in place until your bankruptcy filing is resolved. However, the writ can be permanently suspended if your debts are discharged or are reordered under a new repayment plan.
Filing a Claim Of Exemption
You may be able to file a claim of exemption to protect the funds in your bank account, if that is what is being garnished instead of your wages. You may be able to show that the funds there are legally protected, such as if they are from unemployment, Social Security, or disability payments. You will certainly need to work with an attorney to file this claim and to provide the necessary proof that the funds are exempt.
Filing for bankruptcy is a sure way to protect the funds in the account. It will put a stop to the garnishment and may even discharge the debt that prompted it, depending on what type of bankruptcy you file. Chapter 7 bankruptcy will discharge unsecured debts like credit card debt, and Chapter 13 bankruptcy will reorganize your debt into a more affordable payment plan.
Contact a Tucson Bankruptcy Attorney To Learn About Your Options
If you are struggling with debt or you have already started getting notice of potential or pending legal action from your creditors, you need to call the offices of My AZ Lawyers today to talk with a bankruptcy attorney about your options for protection by filing for bankruptcy. We represent clients seeking debt relief through both Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. We’ll review your finances and help you understand which option would give you the most benefits. We aim to help you get expansive debt relief while still protecting as many of the assets you may have. Contact us in Tucson today to schedule a consultation with a bankruptcy attorney and learn more.