What is Wage Garnishment?

If you owe money to a creditor and fail to pay on a timely basis as agreed, they can take you to court and obtain a judgment against you. If this happens, a judge may give them the right to “garnish your wages.” This means that your employer will be notified that a portion of your paycheck must be withheld from you and sent to the creditor.

This can be unbelievably stressful if you are already in over your head financially. After all, in most cases, if you had the money to pay the bills they wouldn’t be so far in arrears.

Failure to make payments on the following types of loans can result in wage garnishment:

  • credit card debt
  • student loans
  • mortgages (and foreclosures)
  • repossessed vehicles
  • taxes
  • medical debt

If you miss a payment or more, your creditor has the right to come after you. However, they must advise you that they are going to sue you to get a judgment against you. This allows you to do something to stop the legal action. If you fail to take appropriate action such as making arrangements to restructure your payment schedule, etc., your creditor, its collection agent or its attorney will take the case to court and likely get a judgment against you.

All judgments to garnish wages must be ordered by a court. The only exception is taxes owed to the Internal Revenue Service or loans owe to the Department of Education. If you default on either of these obligations, your paycheck can be garnished without a court order. If you have failed to pay your obligations and don’t have a job, your bank accounts may be garnished.

Don’t try to fix these problems alone. Contact an experienced bankruptcy lawyer who is knowledgeable about debt collection issues. At Monmouth County, NJ-based Garland & Mason, L.L.C.n, our lawyers can help you. We may even be able to get the wage garnishment judgment lifted. Call us today.

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