Many people who have trouble keeping up with bills look forward to payday. Once your work deposits your paycheck, you don’t have to worry about your debit card getting declined because you know you have money in your account. But some people get paid and then learn they have much less in their accounts than they expected, and this could be from something called “wage garnishment.”
If a creditor is garnishing your wages, it can only make your money problems much, much worse. You should call a bankruptcy lawyer to learn about what you can do to get out of this situation and get your accounts back on track.
If you fall far behind on payments for a credit card or another debt, the company that gave you the debt can file a lawsuit against you in court. Many people in this situation don’t even know a lawsuit is happening or don’t understand the process. Too often, these lawsuits end up with judgments against you. This judgment means the court ordered you to pay the debt in full.
If you cannot pay the judgment in full, the company that got the judgment can ask the court for the power to collect the money from you. This might mean they can garnish your wages or “levy” your bank account. Both of these situations can make your money stress worse and can be shocking when you try to pay for groceries and realize the money you thought you had is gone.
The company that gets permission from the court to garnish your wages will hand the court order over to your employer. Your work must then keep a certain amount from your paycheck to pay to the creditor. This can continue until the debt is paid or you take other action.
If the company gets permission for a bank levy, they give the court order to your bank. At that time, the bank can hand over the money that is in your account to the creditor. This can clean you out and keep you from paying other bills or even buying groceries for your family until you get paid again.
Both wage garnishment and bank levies can take your money when you’re already stressed. You should call a bankruptcy attorney to talk about ways you can stop this from happening.
First off, not all money that you have can simply be taken because some money is “exempt,” which means it cannot be garnished or levied. We can help make sure that most of your wages, child support, unemployment, and other benefits are protected and that you keep that money.
Then, we can look at whether you might want to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This not only stops the wage garnishment from happening but can also wipe out your debts, including any judgments against you.