Are your wages at risk of being garnished by creditors? Your legal options are limited, but knowing ways to stop wage garnishment in Georgia could help you reach a favorable resolution.
How to Stop Wage Garnishment
If you have been struggling to pay your bills, you may find yourself having to deal with creditor threats and even legal action. While it may be tempting to shrug it all off, thinking that there is no way they can collect, you may be in for a rude shock.
A wage garnishment order is a court order instructing an employer to collect a percentage of your wages or salary, which are sent directly to your creditors(The percentage of your salary will be in accordance with federal minimum wage law). Once the order is given, the issue is out of your hands, and you will have no say in how much will be paid to your creditors to lift consumer debt.
This action will automatically give creditor money from your paycheque in pre-defined percentages set by the court to fulfill your debt. So, at this step, you risk losing your home or any other exempt property.
There are other consequences, such as a loss of trustworthiness and privacy before your employer, so it is vital to work with a bankruptcy lawyer to help you negotiate with creditors and even reverse the wage garnishment orders.
At the Cherney Law Firm, we have experienced Georgia bankruptcy attorneys who can help you deal with your garnishment challenges and, if possible, nip them in the bud before they become problematic. Unlike attorney listings from paid attorney advertising sites or lawyer referral services, we are skilled and have proven experience of working in wage garnishment, bankruptcy filing, and unemployment insurance. Moreover, we will help you determine the best options for your stable financial future.
Stopping Wage Garnishment Using the Law
Under Georgia and federal wage garnishment law, the garnishment process needs to follow a set of rules depending on what type of debt the creditor intends to collect.
If you have consumer debts such as medical bills and credit cards, federal law limits the amount a creditor can receive in a judgment to no more than:
- Your disposable income is 30 times less than the federal minimum wage
- 25 percent of net earnings
You have to note that some sources of debt will not require a court judgment and will also have higher limits on wages garnished. Some of these include:
- Taxes – The federal government and state agencies can garnish wages and disposable earnings without a court order.
- Student Loan – If you default on your debt like a student loan holder, the collection agency can garnish as much as 15% of your disposable income.
- Spousal or Child Support – Most wage garnishments will not exceed 60 percent of disposable income unless one supports a child or former spouse. Child support and alimony wage garnishment won’t be more than 50% to 60% of your income. This type of debt service the bankruptcy filing.
If you have multiple creditors looking to garnish your wages, the total garnishment cannot be more than the legal limit for one creditor. Depending on it, a percentage of total monthly income will be deducted from your bank account.
If you have received a demand letter on defaulted loans, it is critical to secure the services of a bankruptcy lawyer and establish an attorney-client relationship as soon as possible to avoid garnishment. In case if you avoid the lawsuit, your judgment creditor can ask the court to take payment from you in several ways.
At the Cherney Law Firm, our experienced wage garnishment lawyer has a solid understanding of federal and state law. We provide free initial consultations on debt-relief options and can also negotiate with your debt collectors before the garnishment begins.
Frequently Asked Questions About Garnishments
What are wages and salaries?
Salaries and wages refers to any income paid to an employee that will usually be reported on a W-2
When will the attachment and garnishment start?
Wage garnishments usually start on the next pay period.
How Can I File to Stop a Wage Garnishment?
If you have received a demand letter and need to avoid wage garnishment, time is of the essence. You need to remember that if you cannot make payment arrangements or make voluntary payments to become current, you can still avoid or remove the orders to garnish your wages by taking legal steps.
One of the most effective ways to get debt relief other than to file bankruptcy is to contact a compassionate and experienced debt and bankruptcy attorney to help you navigate the legal system.
At Cherney Law, we have experienced attorneys who understand what you are going through. Regardless of whether you are dealing with federal student loans, private student loans, personal loans, or even multiple federal loans, we may be able to help you by discussing the various options available.
We not only provide legal advice but also help you file the necessary paperwork to stop garnishment, represent you in district court, and even get you a reduction in the garnishment amount if the garnishment has already begun.
What Happens If You Switch Jobs While Your Wages Are Being Garnished?
If you switch your jobs during the wage garnishment, the process will stop immediately. This stop is temporary, and the debt collector can initiate the process with your new employer. Oftentimes, it is just a matter of time before the process resumes. Some people also use the bankruptcy procedure to stop a wage garnishment immediately.
Garnishment is a debt collection tool used for most consumer debt, including tax refund garnishment. Consulting an experienced credit counselor can help you act quickly to negotiate a more manageable payment plan or explore options like a new loan to consolidate debt payments.
The withheld funds due to garnishment may cause economic hardship, and other collection efforts for the original debt could also continue.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Stop Wage Garnishment?
If you are facing financial hardship due to wage garnishment, you will need a bankruptcy lawyer to help stop the garnishment.
Our Georgia state wage garnishment attorney has relationships with wage garnishment lawyers, student loan debt collection agencies, and the IRS, among other creditors.
We can contact your student loan wage garnishment agency, the department of Education, or the IRS and negotiate on your behalf. We can also open channels of communication and negotiation with your employer, creditor, the IRS, or opposing attorney before the wage garnishment begins.
With our understanding of the law, we know the different bankruptcy exemptions that we can file to stop undue garnishment. When we file for an exemption such as undue hardship, we may stop a garnishment or get a judgment to reduce the amount.
In instances where these options may not be feasible, we may be able to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which could stop the garnishment and even discharge some significant debt.
If you are facing extreme financial hardship due to garnishment, contact the Cherney Law Firm today for your first free consultation.
Ways to Stop Garnishment of Wages
Before a collection agency or creditor can get a garnishment order, they will have to win a lawsuit. One of the most critical things to do when you are sued is to contact a lawyer to respond to it.
If you do not have the money for it, you should consider a credit counseling session with non-profits that will evaluate your credit report and credit score and make recommendations on how to avoid garnishment. They usually provide a free evaluation of your financial circumstances and may even help you develop a plan for voluntary payments going forward.
It is also important to note that ignoring a lawsuit may result in a default judgment for the creditor. To prevent a default judgment, you should file an answer and, in the meantime, try to negotiate a payment plan with the creditor or find your way with credit counseling sessions.
It is important to note that tax debt and student loan debt can be garnished from Social Security benefits and wages under federal law. This means that the IRS and the Department of Education can garnish your wages without getting a judgment or filing a lawsuit.
Methods to Prevent Wage Garnishment
Apart from the above methods, there are several other ways to prevent wage garnishment. Some of these include:
1. Negotiating a Payment Plan with the Creditor
If you cannot pay off what is owed in a lump sum payment, you can negotiate a payment plan. Working with a lawyer can help you negotiate with the creditor to allow you to pay an amount you can afford.
You will have to provide your lawyer with details on your financial circumstances and submit your credit report and credit rating documents. Even though you can negotiate a payment plan or debt settlement after a court order, it is usually more complicated.
2. Challenge the Garnishment
Once the court orders that your wage is garnished, you will typically get a copy of the order when it is sent to your employer. This will usually come with instructions on how to fight the order in court.
If you intend to challenge a garnishment order, you will need to be quick as the period for bringing a challenge in Georgia is very short. Once the period expires, your employer will have no choice but to begin garnishing your wages.
3. Filing Bankruptcy
If you have a lot of debt and cannot pay for basic living expenses, you may get temporary relief from stopping the garnishment. If you have multiple creditors coming for you, a fresh start may be what you need.
In such an instance, you can file bankruptcy, which will put a stop to wage garnishment and extinguish dischargeable debts such as car loans and credit card debt. Just like with a court order, your creditor will receive a notice prohibiting them from garnishing your wages a short while after filing.
Still, it is important to note that student loans, domestic support obligations, and taxes cannot be challenged or discharged using these methods.
Consult with an Attorney
Contact the Cherney Law Firm today if you are in danger of having your wages garnished or already having them garnished. We have helped countless clients navigate the different processes of getting debt relief & bankruptcy process and, in some instances, getting their wage garnishment judgments overturned.
How Long Does It Take for Garnishment to Stop?
Under Georgia law, garnishments can be either continuous or lump-sum deductions. Initially, continuous garnishment lasted for a maximum pay period of six months, renewable until the debt was repaid. Under the new laws, continuing garnishment can last from between six months to three years.
How Long Can My Wages Be Garnished?
If a creditor is going after your wages to repay a student loan obligation, tax debt, or money judgment, you probably want to know when it will end. You can expect wage garnishment to stop when you:
- Challenge a judgment by filing wage garnishment proceedings and asking for wage garnishments to stop through a claim of exemption.
- Pay off all or some of the debt through a Chapter 13 repayment plan.
- Discharge the debt by filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 provisions.
- Settle the debt.
Wage garnishment can be frustrating, and there is no better feeling than fighting and winning against such an order. At Cherney Law Firm, we have experienced lawyers who may be able to work on your case and get you a favorable outcome. We have worked with many clients over the years and have a comprehensive understanding of the wage garnishment processes in Georgia.
How to Appeal a Garnishment Order
When you get sued, it is critical to seek legal advice as soon as possible. It is critical to secure the services of a bankruptcy attorney as soon as possible to prevent funds from being removed from your bank account or your funds getting frozen.
Bankruptcy attorneys usually have experience with the court system, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, debt collection practices, and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau laws. As such, the most appropriate way to appeal a garnishment order is to work with an attorney.
At the Cherney Law Firm, we have experienced lawyers who will help you avoid wage garnishment by filing an exemption claim, filing for bankruptcy, negotiating with creditors, and representing you in court. We will evaluate your case, financial situation, and credit card details to help you get through the easy legal process. Contact us today for a free consultation, and we may be able to help you get a favorable outcome.