Who is Garnishing My Wages and How Do I Stop Them?
If you have to ask who is garnishing your wages, you probably did not receive proper service of the original lawsuit's complaint and judgment against you or the motion and order to garnish your wages after the judgment was entered. This means that money is coming out of your paycheck every pay period and you don't know who is taking it! However, it should be fairly easy to determine who is garnishing your wages, it is stopping them that may not be so easy.
Who is Garnishing My Wages?
A wage garnishment can only occur after a lawsuit is filed, a judgment is obtained, and proper service of the garnishment order is provided to your employer. The garnishment order tells your employer how much you owe, to whom you owe it, how much they should withhold from your paychecks each pay period, and where to send the withholding. So, the place to start in order to determine who is garnishing your wages is your employer. They will have a copy of the garnishment order which will tell you who is garnishing your wages and will give you the case or cause number so that you can provide it to the court in order to gather the information you will need to stop the garnishment.
How Do I Stop a Wage Garnishment?
Once you have determined who is garnishing your wages and you have a case or cause number, you need to call the court in your county and ask for a docket sheet so that you can figure out what happened in the case. After that, you will likely need to hire a consumer attorney to help you stop the garnishment, as the process will depend on how and when it was ordered, who is garnishing your wages, and what your current financial situation looks like. There are three basic ways you can stop a wage garnishment:
- Negotiating with the creditor or debt collector to repay the debt on your own
- Setting the garnishment aside or vacating it by court order
- Filing for bankruptcy protection
Negotiation with the creditor or debt collector might be difficult as they are unlikely to stop garnishing your wages based on your promise to pay a weekly or monthly amount towards the debt on your own. The wage garnishment ensures that they are paid a set amount on a regular basis, so you don't really have much of a bargaining chip at this point.
If you can show that you never received proper notice of the original lawsuit that lead to the garnishment, you might be able to get the garnishment order set aside or vacated and get a hearing to determine if you in fact owe the debt and if so, how much you can afford to pay towards it, either on your own, or via a voluntary wage assignment, which could reduce the amount you pay each pay period.
If you owe the debt and cannot repay it, you may want to consider filing for bankruptcy protection. A chapter 7 bankruptcy would stop the garnishment and prohibit the creditor or debt collector from ever attempting to collect on the debt again.
If someone is garnishing your wages and you cannot afford to pay them, please contact our office at 1-800-219-3577, for a free, no obligation consultation.