If a creditor is suing you then one of the scariest things that can happen is to get a Notice of Wage Garnishment in the mail! On top of the embarrassment of your employer knowing that you are having financial difficulty, that creditor will take out a chunk of your pay that you need to pay your bills!

What Can I Do About the Garnishment?

The notice you received is giving you an opportunity to object; make use of it! By requesting a hearing, you can get before a judge and either:

  • Stop the garnishment entirely; or
  • Reduce the amount taken to something that is affordable.

As to the first item, there aren't very many ways to stop it entirely. To do so, you would have to show that you already have one in place or that you do not make enough money at that job for them to take anything.

Stopping the Garnishment

If your weekly take-home pay is less than $217.50, then they can't garnish your pay. You would have to show that by providing the judge with several paystubs. Be sure to object in time and come to court prepared.

If you already have a garnishment in place and this is another one, I have good news and bad news for you: the good news is the court will prevent an additional garnishment on top of the existing one; the bad news is that the judge will put that creditor in line to start their garnishment once the existing one is over.

Reducing the Amount Taken in the Garnishment

If you make enough for a garnishment, and you don't already have one in place, then take this opportunity to ask the judge to reduce the amount taken to an affordable one. He or she has the discretion to do so. In other words, use it as a way to set up a payment plan with the creditor.

The only problem with that is, the creditor can also levy on your bank account later for even more money! You would need to reach a separate agreement with that  creditor's attorney that the amount of money coming from the garnishment each pay is enough to pay the judgment over time, and that they will not seek any additional remedies through other executions against assets.

Is There Any Guaranteed Way to Stop It?

Yes, but it is definitely a last resort. You can stop the garnishment if you file for bankruptcy. The creditor's attorney must then notify the court and its officer that the garnishment must stop. Any moneys held by the court officer would then be returned.

If this is the only creditor you have, and you don't owe them that much (i.e. less than $8,000 or so), then you may be better served just toughing it out and paying it over time. This is because the fees and costs of filing a bankruptcy may not make sense in light of the amount that you owe.

So What Choice is Right for Me?

Want to know if you're in too deep and if bankruptcy is the right option? Then download my book, Am I In Too Deep? A Guide to Knowing When You Need to File Bankruptcy in New Jersey to find out if bankruptcy might be the right solution.

Not sure if bankruptcy is right for you? Take the quiz to the right to find out more!

If you already know that you're in too deep, or realize it after reading my book, and know that you need to take action by filing, call my office today at 856-432-4113 to schedule a free consultation!

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Steven J. Richardson
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Bankruptcy, Collections, Student Loan, DUI and Traffic Court attorney in Woodbury, NJ.