As you continue to deal with the ever-mounting debt that you have accumulated, it may feel as though you can physically feel the weight of these debts. Having outstanding balances can lead to quite a bit of stress and even if you want to get your financial affairs in order, you may have very little money to spare when it comes to paying down or paying off your balances.
If your debt has become too much, it may mean that your creditors are going to start the process of wage garnishment. The mere idea of losing even more of your already limited income may make you feel depressed. But, there is some good news. The garnishment laws in place provide you with certain protections, and you do have options to try and stop the garnishments from occurring.
Garnishing Your Wages
If a creditor wants to begin garnishing your wages, there has to be a court hearing. If the creditor is able to prove that you haven’t made your payments on the balances you owe, then the court may move forward with the garnishment order. When this happens, your employer begins withholding a portion of your wages and sends it to the proper creditors.
You will receive the notice of a garnishment hearing and you have the option to attend. When you choose to attend, you also have the opportunity to present evidence to the court to help stop the garnishment altogether. I see many clients who have ignored these notices and suffer a garnishment as a result. Do not ignore the court notice – go to the hearing, or better yet, get legal counsel immediately.
Amount of Money Garnished
If the order moves through and your wages are garnished, your employer will only be able to withhold a certain amount of your paycheck. According to the Consumer Credit Protection Act, that amount cannot be more than 25 percent of the weekly disposable earnings or 30 times the current minimum wage. The lower of these two calculations is what will be applicable to your situation.
You may believe that your employer is going to think badly of you if they receive an order to begin garnishing your wages. However, this is a debt collection strategy that should never result in you losing your job if your wages are going toward a debt. There are federal laws in place to provide protection from the termination of your job if the wages go toward a single debt. However, if the garnishments occur for more debts, then they are not protected by this.
If you have received a notice for a garnishment hearing, then your attendance and the presentation of evidence will allow you to avoid this from happening. However, even if garnishment begins, you still have options. For example, filing for bankruptcy will put an automatic stay on these actions and the wage garnishment has to stop while this active stay is in place.
If you want to learn more about what options bankruptcy presents, then you should speak with an experienced attorney in Orlando, Florida. To learn more, contact the bankruptcy attorneys at the Badgley Law Group by calling 407-781-0420.