How to Stop Wage Garnishment
Each state has its own debt collection laws with respect to how
much and when your paycheck or your bank account can be garnished.
The federal law, however, has set minimum guidelines that state
debt collection laws cannot infringe upon. Essentially, you
can be garnished up to 25% of your take home pay.
However, a consumer need not sit back and suffer through
garnishment without exercising their rights. With the
exception of a federally funded student loan and an agreed upon
wage assignment that was not later revoked, no company can garnish
wages without first having a judgment. A judgment is a
finding as a matter of law that a certain debt is owed. There
is no more legal challenge to the debt. However, before there
can be a judgment, a lawsuit must first be filed and properly
served. Even after a lawsuit is filed, the consumer has every
right to defend the lawsuit. With the proper help and
preparation, a judgment can be avoided.
It has often been reported that the collectors that file these
lawsuits are not always prepared to take a case all the way to
trial and prove their case. The lawsuit is designed to put
the consumer at a disadvantage enough so that they will either
ignore the lawsuit and allow the judgment, or unwittingly agree to
have one entered. A properly armed consumer can utilize
the lawsuit to his or her advantage and either defeat the lawsuit
or use it as an opportunity to negotiate a fair settlement.
Once that judgment is entered, however, the collector has a
right to seek out assets to pay the judgment as long as it remains
unpaid. Those assets can include your yet to be paid wages,
money saved in a bank account, tax refunds, or other valuable