If you are facing or even experiencing a garnishment, don’t despair – there are solutions. You can stop a garnishment by:
Paying off the debt in full.
Filing an objection to the garnishment with the court if you have legal basis, such debt was a result of fraud or identity theft.
Filing for court protection and debt resolution through Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
What is a Wage Garnishment?
A wage garnishment is a debt collection tool that allows collectors to withhold parts of your paycheck. The amount of your paycheck that is withheld varies by situation and is a legal action to help pay back your creditors.
How Does a Wage Garnishment Happen?
Most garnishments begin with a creditor suing a customer for nonpayment. If the creditor wins in court, they are granted a judgment which allows them to work with a customer’s employer to garnish parts of their wages.
Three Ways to Stop a Garnishment
1. Full Payment to the Creditor
If the creditor receives full satisfaction of the debt obligation including their court cost, the judgment will be satisfied and the wage garnishment stopped. Most people do not have the available funds to make the full payment and if the creditor has gone through the effort to obtain a judgment and garnishment, they are most likely not willing to accept anything less than a full, lump sum payment.
Very often, if you can gather the funds to pay off the debt, it will jeopardize another aspect of your budget for which the funds were originally designated (i.e. mortgage or vehicle payment) or future plan (401K or retirement account). We recommend against this, as late payments on other bills will damage your credit and create unintended consequences, such as a foreclosure or vehicle repossession. Draining your retirement to pay a debt that could be handled otherwise could create future hardships.
2. Filing an Objection with the Court
If you believe you have a basis to fight the garnishment, you can file an objection with the court on the following grounds:
The funds or property are exempt from garnishment by law
You are under bankruptcy protection
You are already being garnished for the maximum amount pursuant to a higher priority garnishment or order.
The judgment has been paid in full
The garnishment was not properly issued or is otherwise invalid
This objection must be filed with the court within 14 days after the writ is delivered or mailed to you, If an objection is not filed within the 14 days, the periodic, non-periodic, or tax refund garnishment will take place and the creditor will receive the withheld funds.
3. File for Bankruptcy Protection
Filing for a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy will immediately stop a judgment or garnishment from proceeding. In fact, if funds are being held by the garnishee or have been disbursed to your creditor in the amount over $600 within 90 days of your bankruptcy filing, we can get the money back in your hands.
There are two types of personal bankruptcy:
Chapter 7 Fresh Start: Chapter 7 is a straight debt elimination plan designed to bring quick resolution and full debt relief. This program will legally eliminate credit card and medical bills, personal loans, judgments, garnishments, loan deficiencies or any unsecured debt obligation. Once your case is filed electronically from our office, we will put a stop to all creditor calls, legal actions and garnishments. If possible, we will work towards retrieving any funds due back from a previous garnishment to you, allowing you to regain control of your finances.
Chapter 13 Reorganization Plan: This program is designed to stop creditor actions and provide reasonable repayment terms to get you back on track. We work with you to establish a balanced budget based on your specific income and debt obligations. We prioritize your debts to first account for your secured debt obligations (i.e. first mortgage, vehicle payment, etc) and your monthly living expenses.
Only after these bills are accounted for do we determine what available funds (if any) may be used to pay towards your unsecured creditors (including the garnishment). You are simply required to pay your “best efforts” towards these debts for the duration of the program (36 – 60 months). At the end of the program, any remaining balances are legally eliminated.
Most of the time, our clients experience significant debt elimination while still maintaining and building their credit throughout the program. In addition, the benefit of a Chapter 13 is that it will:
Exceptions to the Stopping a Wage Garnishment
It is difficult to stop a wage garnishment for child support an alimony. Once these have been ruled in favor of collections and a judgement has been made, they often remain during a bankruptcy.
Call Acclaim Legal Services Today
We understand that if you are experiencing or facing a garnishment, time is not on your side. We are here to help. We offer free phone or in-office consultations and can usually meet with you same day if it is convenient for you. We also offer same day legal protection if you need it. We look at your full financial picture and long-term goals to determine the right course of action. We will walk you through your available options and provide you with our recommendation to not only get you through this difficult time but provide long term financial security and stability.
Please call us toll free at 866-261-8282 or click here to schedule a consultation right now. We are available to meet with you at one of our seven office locations: Detroit, Southfield, Warren, Dearborn, Ann Arbor, Lansing, Flint, Michigan.