You are behind on paying bills. Creditors are sending letters and collection agencies are calling non-stop. What to do? The big fear is that a creditor with the right to do so will begin to garnish your wages. If you are barely making it as it is, garnishment may deal the final financial blow. A creditor can legally take 25% of your disposable income. However, all is not lost. Just because a creditor decides to garnish your wages does not mean they necessarily have the final say.
Any creditor wishing to garnish your wages must first file a Writ of Execution with the county authorities. The Writ authorizes the authorities to inform the debtor’s employer that a portion of their wages will be withheld from each paycheck until the debt is paid. The process is not immediate, so you have time to address the issue.
3 Options When Your Wages are Garnished
- Get all or a portion of the garnishment exempted.
- Negotiate a reasonable payment schedule with the creditor.
- File for bankruptcy.
How to Stop Garnishment
Our best advice is to hire an attorney who has done this before. Fighting wage garnishments can be tricky. Having someone on your side who can speak about important personal financial issues goes a long way toward getting the garnishment reduced or reversed. The one thing you should not do is accept garnishments as a justified punishment. Deducting debt from your paycheck may present unreasonable hardships for you and your family. A good attorney who understands your situation knows which legal buttons to push.
Respond to the Creditor’s Demand Letter
Creditors can’t just start taking money from your paycheck. They must first get a court judgment against you then notify you in writing of the impending garnishment. This is called a “demand letter.” If you get a demand letter from your creditor, don’t ignore it. Many creditors prefer to get voluntary payments from debtors rather than deal with the cost and time-consuming paperwork involved with garnishments. A good attorney may use this opportunity to negotiate a reasonable payment plan rather than garnishing your salary.
What is an Exemption? How Do I File?
Wage garnishment exemptions, a form of wage protection, prevents the creditor from taking certain kinds of income or more than a certain amount of your wages. The idea is that citizens should be able to protect some wages from creditors to pay for living expenses. If you receive a notice of a wage garnishment, you might be able to protect or exempt some or all of your wages by filing an exemption claim with the court. Seeking an exemption requires you to follow certain legal steps. Minnesota has exemption claim forms available through the court. Your exemption claim is filed with the court; a copy is sent to the creditor upon receipt of the demand letter.
Don’t let wage garnishment get you down. If you are a resident of Minnesota, The Hoverson Law Firm can help you wade through the legalities and achieve the best possible result. Call us now at (612) 349-2728.