There are several reasons why you may find your wages garnished. The most common reasons are that you owe student loans, child support, back taxes or you may have a court judgment against you. When wages are garnished it means that you have a court issued order that requires your employer to keep a certain amount or percentage of your monthly paycheck and then send it straight to the institution or person that you owe money to until you have fully paid off your debt. Due to the fact that millions of U.S. citizens are struggling with a debt problem, an increased number of creditors are using garnished wages in order to get the money that’s owed to them. If you are one of them then there are a few things you can do in order to lessen the impact of having your wages garnished. Here are the top five things to do when this happens to you.
Make a Payment Plan
The IRS will often agree to some sort of deal in order to lessen the burden of garnished wages. For instance, you can ask the IRS to create a payment plan. The IRS is actually quite amiable in allowing you to make monthly payments in order to more easily erase your debt, and avoid having your wages garnished at all. If you do go with this option then it’s crucial that you maintain the payment of these monthly wages. However, as long as you do so you can keep control of your paycheck, and not have your employer involved.
Respond to Your Creditor
Once a creditor has gotten a judgment against you, it’s often required that they send you a warning letter before they begin to garnish your wages. If you receive this letter then it’s recommended that you don’t just ignore it. Instead, keep in mind that most creditors would prefer that they receive voluntary payments instead of dealing with time and cost consuming paperwork that comes with garnished wages. If you can, try to negotiate a sum of money that you can use to payoff the IRS. This sum will be lower than the amount owed, however the IRS may take it.
Look at State-Specific Remedies
There are a few states that will offer protection against wage garnishment. For example, in Ohio you may request a trustee to be appointed to your case. This will allow you to make payments to a trustee who will then give the payments to the creditor. As long as you have established a trusteeship, a creditor will not be allowed to garnish your wages.
You may be able to receive help from a consumer credit counseling service (CCS) in order to stop your wages from being garnished. A CCS can help with negotiations with your creditor, and help you reach an agreement with them. If your creditors agree to make a payment plan with the help of CCS then they can no longer garnish your wages, as long as you maintain your payments.
Challenge the Judgment
If you have any sort of basis to dispute the court judgment against you then you could potentially stop your wages from being garnished. For example, if you were never officially served the complaint and other legal papers then it is grounds for disputing your judgment. You can attempt to vacate the judgment by filing for a separate motion, which will get you a new hearing. Keep in mind that this process can be quite tricky, and so you should talk to an attorney before proceeding any further.