If you've been slapped with a WAGE GARNISHMENT, you need to know WHY it happened and HOW to put a STOP to it!
A wage garnishment or bank levy/garnishment doesn't just "happen"!
Before a "writ of garnishment" can be granted to a creditor or debt collector, several things have happened:
When you sign up for a credit card, bank card, or any unsecured account (including medical bills), you have entered into a legal contract with the basic agreement that you will repay the loan at the terms and time frame outlined in the agreement.
If you don't, the original creditor has the right to:
- Call you
- Write you, or...
- Hire a Debt Collector, or...
- Retain an attorney to file a claim...bring a lawsuit!
- Go to court to win a judgment against you
- Apply for a Writ of Garnishment
Let's walk through the process leading up to a WAGE GARNISHMENT, and I'll show you how to:
- Prevent a judgment
- Prevent a garnishment
- Stop a garnishment
I've been helping people deal with credit and debt problems for many years and it still always is a mystery to me when someone calls for help and says,"I had no idea this was going on"!
Well, I suppose that is possible, but most likely, here is what happened:
1. Something happened in your life that caused you to be unable to keep up with the required payments. It could have been one or more of these:
- Loss of employment
- Divorce or other family problem
- Death of a spouse or loved one
- Long illness or disability
- Barely enough income after retirement
When you are late or unable to pay the minimum payment due, you probably already know, but...
2. Creditors start calling and writing, trying to find out what is going on.
Unfortunately, the original creditor has the right (remember that agreement with all the FINE PRINT?) to call or contact you by mail, so at this point, you cannot legally stop them.
3. If the original creditor cannot contact you or you do not talk with them or return their request for a call, then they may place the account with a DEBT COLLECTOR.
The debt collector will start calling, and calling, and calling....very annoying!
But now you have the right to PUT A STOP TO THESE CALLS FROM DEBT COLLECTORS!
When your account has been placed with a debt collector, you may have the opportunity to SETTLE THE ACCOUNT BALANCE FOR LESS!
This is called DEBT SETTLEMENT and depending on your circumstances, this can be a very effective method for not only reducing the balance due, but also stop the potential legal process that may begin.
Although dealing with a debt collector can be a very intimidating and frustrating experience, if you feel up to it, you may want to call and see what they are willing to do for you,
If you are uncomfortable doing this, you can get help:
4. If the debt collector cannot get you to set up payments to repay or are not willing to accept a REASONABLE SETTLEMENT, then they may decide to FILE A CLAIM.
Once the Claim is filed, a SUMMONS will be issued. It usually is delivered in person, but may be sent by registered mail.
As I said earlier, although people will say that they never received a summons, in most cases...
- They had received it, but just ignored it!
- Someone in the household signed for it.
- Someone in the household signed for it if delivered by registered mail.
But even if you really never received or saw the summons, at this point, it may too expensive to fight! Yes, you could, but most likely you won't.
SO, NOW WHAT????
5. The summons had stated that you had 20 -30 days to give an "ANSWER".
A legal ANSWER is you legal response to the claim/summons that you do not owe the debt and CAN PROVE IT!
Most people know that they owe the debt and so spending the money to give the ANSWER ( yes, it costs money to FILE AN ANSWER!!!), is a waste of time and money.
6. Even if you do not file an ANSWER, you can still stop the process by negotiating a STIPULATED AGREEMENT.
Depending on your financial circumstances, the plaintiff (creditor) may agree to a repayment plan rather move forward for a garnishment.
The reasoning is that if you are slapped with a garnishment it may force you to seek bankruptcy protection. If that happens, they may get little to nothing!
7. But, if the previous procedures fail to prevent the garnishment or you receive noticed from you employer that you will be garnished, you still have options:
- Call the attorney for the plaintiff and attempt to negotiate a repayment plan in lieu of the garnishment.
- Seek bankruptcy protection.
Even if you receive the notice of garnishment from your employer, you still may be able to contact the attorney for the plaintiff/creditor and work out a repayment plan.
You will need to be able to show hardship and offer a reasonable payment plan.
But if the plaintiff/creditor refuses, then you may be forced to seek BANKRUPTCY PROTECTION.
Bankruptcy is a drastic option, but is not as bad as you think it is.
Now you know "WHY" the "HOW TO STOP" a garnishment.
But, taking action is still too much for most people.......