Oregon Wage Garnishment...How to Prevent...How to Stop

A wage garnishment can be financially devastating, taking 25% of you net, take-home paycheck!

Here what you need to know to prevent or how to stop garnishments.

woman_on_floor_with_all_her_bills.jpgA wage garnishment doesn't "just happen".  After years and years of assisting people with debt problems, it still always amazes me when one of our prospects or newer clients that have received a notice from their employer that their pay check is going to be garnished, says something like:

I had no idea that this could happen.  I never received anything about it.

 How did this happen?

OK... Time Out!!!

A wage garnishment (technically called a Writ of Garnishment) can't happen without several steps preceding the order.

Let's start from the start...

You have several credit cards or other unsecured debts and because of something that has happened to you, such as:

  • Divorce
  • Severe illness or disability
  • Death of spouse or loved one
  • Too little fixed income after retirement

...now you just cannot keep up with the minimum payments due and start missing payments or just stop making payments all together.

When this happens, the creditor will start calling and writing letters trying to find out what is going on and to see if something can be done to get you to start making payments again.

If you ignore these calls and/or letters (and many, many people do), then the original creditor has no choice but to charge off, transfer or even sell the account to a debt collector or debt buyer.

Now the calls and letters really start to increase!

The good news is that you can put a stop to these annoying and sometimes harassing calls:

STOP Collection Calls Free Sample Letter

Just follow the link above, and the calls will stop.

But, that doesn't mean that these debt collectors are going to stop their efforts to get you to pay!

So what should you do?

Let's say that you have several credit cards and because of going through a serious illness or injury, you have not been able to work, your income went down, and now, you are not able to make even the minimum required payments due.

When the creditor or collector calls, you may be able to negotiate a SETTLEMENT.

Again, depending on a number of circumstances, the creditor or collector may accept an amount that is 40% - 60% of the balance.

Recent Settlements See what we have  done for our clients!

If you don't engage them, then the creditor or collector may decide to FILE A CLAIM against you in the county court where you live.

After the Claim has been filed, a SUMMONS will be issued and you will be SERVED the summons.  This could be at home or even at work!

When you receive the Summons, again, you CAN NOT IGNORE THE SUMMONS!  Even after the summons has issued and served, you should still be able to negotiate either a settlement or a repayment agreement.

But, if you don't, then there will be a court date set, and the creditor/collector will be awarded a DEFAULT JUDGMENT.

Once the judgment has been awarded, the Plaintiff (creditor/collector) can apply for a WRIT OFGARNISHMENT.  This will be sent to your employer and your employer has no choice but to obey the Writ!

Most likely, your state demands that the employer withhold an additions 25% of your net check (after taxes and required deductions have been removed).

This can be devastating!  Here's an example:

  • You earn $36,000/year or $3,000/month.  
  • You are paid every two weeks and that bi-monthly check is $1500.
  • State and Federal taxes equal 30%, so $450 is withheld and your net check is now $1,050.
  • Your employer must withhold an additions 25% or $262.50.
  • That's $525 each month!  You think it was hard to pay bills before...

I'm thinking you are starting to understand, that you cannot just ignore your debts, letters or calls, and especially a summons.

If you did, and now you have a wage garnishment, here's what you can do:

Contact the attorney for the plaintiff (that's the collector or creditor).

Explain you situation and if you have it (most likely you won't) offer a lump sum settlement on a reduced balance.

Usually, they won't take a reduction, but if the offer is large enough, they might.

Most of the time, they will be willing to accept an agreement whereby you pay them, say $200 -$300 a month (instead of, in this example, $525/month).

But, due to your financial hardship, you just can't afford any payment or the garnishment?

In this case, you should seek the services of a bankruptcy attorney.  This may be your only choice to protect yourself from the creditors!

I hope you understand my simple point....

  • A wage garnishment doesn't just happen.
  • If it does, you still have options.
  • The key is to take action!  Don't just "hide your head in the sand"!

FREE  Debt Elimination Summary



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Tags: stop wage garnishment, dealing with debt collectors, summons, how to prevent wage garnishment, oregon wage garnishment, default judgment

Wage Garnishment in Oregon...Know Your Rights!

If you receive a notice that your wages are going to be garnished, you need to act, and act fast! Here's some helpful tips you can use:


Here at Debt Relief NW, it seems like we get dozens of calls weekly from people who "just found out", that their pay check was going to garnished!

I've highlighted the phrase, "just found out" to make a point:


There is a legal process that must unfold before a creditor or debt collector can receive a writ of garnishment from he court to send to your employer.

I am going to outline, in a nutshell, so to speak, of the process and what you:


For the purpose of this article, I'm only referring to UNSECURED DEBTS, such as:

  • Credit or Store Cards
  • Personal loans (NOT mortgage or auto loans)
  • Deficiency judgment after a repossession
  • Medical bills
  • Private student loans

OK, let me lay out an example (based on over 15 years of helping people with their debt issues):

I'll call him Joe.  Joe has a decent job and earns about $20/hour.  At 40 hours a week and an average of 4.2 weeks/month, his GROSS (before taxes and deductions) is $3360/month.

Of course, after taxes and other deductions, his NET INCOME ("TAKE HOME")  is only about $2352 (approximately 30% less than his Gross Income).

He is renting an apartment and has all of the usual bills.

His total budget or outgo is about $2100 a month, leaving him barely $250 for emergencies, etc.

Included in that budget is about $15,000 of credit card debt spread over 3 cards:

  • Visa                 $8,000
  • Master Card    $6,000
  • Home Depot    $1,000

The total monthly MINIMUM PAYMENTS on all add up to $300/month.

Joe is having a very difficult time making the $300/month, minimum payments and then, he is working around the house and falls off a ladder and breaks his leg!

His insurance policy doesn't provide for any "disability income" for the accident, so not only is he going to be off work for about 3-4 months, he doesn't have any means of income.

Fortunately, he had a little savings account, but it wasn't enough to cover all of his monthly budget.

So, Joe does what thousands of people do every day, he pays all of the most important bills, like his rent, utilities, groceries, etc. and let's the credit card bills get behind.


After he misses a payment or two, he starts to get letters and calls, lots of calls!

At this point, Joe can't do anything about the annoying calls, because as long as his account is still with the original creditor, they have the right to call him about it.

But, once the account is charged off, sold, or transferred to a collection agency or other third party, then he can put a stop to the calls!.  (I'll show you how in just a minute.)

Of course, Joe tries to explain to the caller what he is going through and they may or may not offer some kind of "HARDSHIP PROGRAM"  to help him through this.  But, it really doesn't matter as he just will not be able to make any payments until he is back to work and get some other bills caught up.


The original creditor(s) will most likely charge off, sell or transfer the account to a collector after about 120 days of so if nothing can be arranged.

So now, Joe starts getting letters and calls (LOTS OF CALLS)  debt collectors!

He'd like to make some kind of arrangement with them, but they are demanding full payment on the balance or else!

At this point, he can put a stop to these calls.  Here's how:

STOP Collection Calls Free Sample Letter

But, even though the calls are stopped and he is just "ignoring" the letters, the debt is not going to go away.


If the debt collector is unsuccessful in getting you to start making payments, then the debt collector may decide to start the legal process of obtaining a judgment.

An attorney for the collector will FILE A CLAIM at the courthouse of the county where you reside.

This CLAIM will generate a SUMMONS that will be delivered to you, usually in person, but sometimes by registered mail.

I'm not going to go into all of the details of what to do with the SUMMONS here, but you can check out a blog I've written that will be very helpful called:





The fact that the collector decided to file a CLAIM proves that they are very serious about collecting on this debt.

If you ignore the summons, then a court date will be scheduled (you don't have to go), but a representative from the collector (now called the PLAINTIFF) will show up and the court will award them a DEFAULT JUDGMENT.

It's called a "default" judgment because no one contested it and they won by default.


Now, the PLAINTIFF ( the collector) can apply for a WRIT OF GARNISHMENT.

The Writ of Garnishment is sent to your employer and they, by law, must obey the writ and withhold up to 25% of your net, after-tax, income.

Joe has just gone back to work and then he get's this notice from the payroll department that he is being garnished...and he starts to panic, which is understandable!

Remember when we did the math earlier about what his actual "take-home" or "after tax" income was?

That amount was $ 2,352.

Most states allow for up to 25% of the net, after-tax check to be deducted and sent to the creditor until the full balance (inflated now with interest and legal fees) is repaid!


$2,352 X 25% = $588 will be deducted from Joe's Net Check!

He could barely make it on the $2352, and now he has to somehow make it on $1764!




OK, so Joe's really in trouble, you get it...

How did this happen and what can he do about it now?

Joe could have stopped this "process" and ultimate JUDGMENT by trying to work out a SETTLEMENT PLAN with the debt collector.

Most debt collectors would much rather accept less than the full balance than go to all of the time and expense to seek a judgment:

Recent Settlements See what we have  done for our clients!

When Joe received the summons, he could have contacted the attorney for the collector and most likely worked out some kind of repayment arrangement that may have included a reduced settlement!

Once the judgment was awarded and the plaintiff had spent more money in legal fees, they went after the garnishment.

But that doesn't mean that you still could not work out something to stop the garnishment!

You may be able to get them to stop the garnishment and take a more "reasonable" amount to repay the debt.

Depending on the circumstances, you may even be able to not only stop the garnishment, but also get a reduced settlement.  Each case is a little different.

If this help, great.

If you find it a little "over-whelming", then maybe we can help:

FREE  Debt Elimination Summary


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Tags: debt collection, summons, how to prevent wage garnishment, credit card, garnishment

Do I Have to Respond to a Summons?

If you have debts that are delinquent, you may get a summons.  Do you have to respond to a summons?



The simple answer is "no", but that doesn't mean you should ignore a summons!

If you have so much debt that you cannot keep up with the payments, at some point, some or all of these debts will become "past due", "delinquent", or "charged off" for non payment.

In some cases, the original creditor or the debt collector or debt buyer may decide to retain an attorney to file a claim against you.

Here's what usually happens:

When you miss a payment or two, you start to get the phone calls and letters.  This is the original creditor trying to get you to start making the payments again.  During the first 60-90 days, the account most likely stays with the original creditor as they continually try to get you to start making payments.

As annoying as the phone calls are, you cannot legally stop the calls as long as the account is still with the original creditor.  You can, however, choose to ignore the calls, but this is not your best tactic.

You can answer the phone and try to explain your situation, but this is usually a waste of time.  It would be better for you to write the original creditor and briefly explain your financial circumstances and that you fully intend to repay this debt, but cannot do anything at this time.

This may or may not buy you some time.  Most likely, the original creditor will offer you some kind of HARDSHIP PLAN, but BEWARE!  Most Hardship Plan offers only delay the inevitable...you will have to repay 100% of this debt plus interest, late fees, annual fees and possibly over-the-limit penalties!

If the original Creditor is unsuccessful in getting you to start paying, they may decide to place the account with a DEBT COLLECTOR.  Here where things are starting to get really serious.

At first, you'll receive some letters, telling you what you already know...

                                  THIS ACCOUNT IS PAST DUE!

It will explain that you must bring you account up to date or face serious consequences (or something like that).

Then, the phone calls start!  Although the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act has helped stop many ruthless and harassing debt collectors, they are still out there!

According to the FDCPA, you have the legal right to make them stop calling you!

Click below:

STOP Collection Calls Free Sample Letter

But now that the calls have stopped, the original creditor, the debt collector or debt purchaser may decide to take legal action.

A word about DEBT BUYERS:

When a debt goes unpaid for a long time and a debt collector (or several debt collectors) are unsuccessful collecting the debt, it normally will be charged off as "uncollectable".  There are thousands upon thousands of these debts out there and there is are companies who will buy large groups or lots of debt at pennies on the dollar, planning on getting paid on enough to make a profit.

So, if they decide to have a claim filed, they would retain an attorney (licensed in your state) to file a COMPLAINT in your county courthouse.


It's not always logical when or why a debt collector or debt buyer decides to file a claim.

If you are retired, disabled, or unemployed, you are going to be exempt from wage or bank garnishment. 

Back to the process:

The court will prepare a SUMMONS, and it will SERVED or delivered to you.  This is usually done by a sheriff or company paid to serve the summons.  Some people think that they can avoid receiving the summons by not answering the door or by lying to the person or sheriff trying to serve the summons.

I don't advocate this tactic, as you could face legal charges for not telling the truth, and eventually, you will be served.  You may be able to "buy some time".

If you can come up with a lump sum of approximately 50%-75% of the amount of the claim, they may accept that as a settlement.  The amount they are willing to accept will depend on several factors, specifically your financial situation:

  • employed (W-2 or self employed)
  • unemployed
  • retired
  • disabled
  • buying or renting

If you are exempt from wage or bank levy, but are a home owner (or have significant equity in your home), you may want to get this account settled to avoid a lien being placed on your property.

If you do not have funds available to offer a lump sum settlement, in most cases, you will be able to arrange a repayment of the debt by making monthly payments.  Sometimes, this will be called a STIPULATED AGREEMENT before or after a judgment.  As long as you complete the terms of the agreement, no further legal action will happen.

On the other hand, if you start such an agreement and miss a payment, they may deem the agreement "VOID", and start the legal process again!


It is not in your best interest to ignore a summons! 

In fact, if you are in a stressful financial situation, take action before your account(s) go this far!  Your chances of successful negotiation are much better if you can get something worked out BEFORE a judgment is awarded!


Photo credit: Kevin B 3





Kevin B 3

Tags: fair debt collection practices act, credit card debt, debt settlement, summons, how to prevent wage garnishment, exempt income

Wage Garnishment in Oregon...How to Stop

Here's some very helpful tips on how to put a stop to wage garnishment in Oregon.

First you must understand that a debt collector cannot simply be awarded a wage garnishment for unsecured debts without first having gone through the legal process:

  • File a claim in your county courthouse
  • A SUMMONS is delivered to you
  • Default judgment is awarded if no settlement can be reached
  • Apply for a Writ of Garnishment

OK, you've been having a very challenging time, financially due to circumstances beyond your control, such as:

  • Loss of employment
  • Divorce
  • Death in the family
  • Illness
  • Fixed income of retirement
  • Disability

Although you have done your best to try and keep up with your minimum payments, a couple of your accounts have been turned over to a COLLECTION AGENCY, and they have been calling day and night...driving you nuts!



STOP Collection Calls Free Sample Letter


Most debt collectors and debt collection agencies are willing to work out a repayment and/or settlement of the debt you owe.

Having said, "...you owe...", let's make sure that you really do owe the debt before you pay for something you shouldn't.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act allows a debtor who feels that they do not owe the debt claimed by the creditor/collector to require a DEBT VALIDATION.

After you write a letter demanding that the debt collector validate the debt, they must not only stop collection activity (calls, letters, etc.), but provide you with proof that the debt is legitimate.

Some debt collectors are actually "debt purchasers", who buy lists of so-called debts at pennies-on-the-dollar, hoping to get someone to pay who may or may not actually owe the debt.

Here's a FREE Sample Letter for you to use:


One more thing about making sure you actually owe this debt:

Make sure the STAUTE OF LIMITATIONS for you state has not expired.

For example, in my home state, Oregon, the statue of limitations on unsecured debt is 6 years.  This means that if there has been no payments on this account for over 6 years, the debt must be removed from all credit reporting agencies and cannot be collected on any more!

So, now that you have determined if the debt is legitimately yours, it's time to contact the debt collector.

Prepare yourself for a small battle on this!  These are professional debt collectors and they are usually paid a percentage of what they can get you to pay.

Tell them you intend to pay the debt, but you just don't have anything now.

Don't let them trick you into paying just a little bit ($25 or so) "to keep the account in this office" or "to keep the account from going to the legal department".  If the account has passed statute of limitations, that "little payment", could reset the clock!!!

But, for the sake of this blog, Wage Garnishment in Oregon...How to Stop, if you have received notice of a wage garnishment, here's what you can do:

Your employer has no choice but to comply with a WRIT OF GARNISHMENT.  If they ignore it or do not reply, they could receive a hefty fine!

But, make sure that you are making enough money to qualify for a garnishment!  In Oregon, if you take home income is about $850-$900 or so, they you cannot be garnished.

Here's the Oregon site that will help.

Just make sure your employer is aware of the exemption limits.

By the way, if you are receiving certain types of income, these cannot be garnished.

Basically, all retirement income, social security, disiability income, etc. is exempt. 

Check out the complete list here.

But if your income is not exempt, then to put a stop to a wage garnishment, you must contact the debt collector and/or attorney for the debt collector and arrange a STIPULATED AGREEMENT.  

You will need to be prepared to demonstrate to the debt collector or attorney that you are in a very bad financial situation and the wage garnishment will force you into bankruptcy unless they agree to a stipulated agreement.

Prepare a basic household budget showing all of your income and expenditures.  You may have to provide a couple of months of bank account statements and maybe a pay stub or two.

But if you can demonstrate how bad things are, they may be willing to enter into a stipulated agreement.

Now, if by chance you could find a large lump sum, say 50% -75% of the balance, they may and most likely, will take that as a settlement and release the judgment.

I know, but maybe you have someone who could help...just asking.

Of course, if you get the Stipulated Agreement or Settlement Agreement, make sure to get it in writing!

The real key to stopping a wage garnishment in Oregon or any state for that matter is to be pro-active.  Don't just ignore the letters and especially don't ignore the summons.

In most cases, a debt collector will be willing to work with you.






Tags: credit card debt, debt collectors, debt validation, how to stop collection calls, credit repair, how to prevent wage garnishment, how to stop a wage garnishment, credit reporting agencies

3 Easy Tips to Stop Wage Garnishment

stop wage garnishmentA wage garnishment because of unpaid bills can be devastating!

Here are 3 easy tips on how to stop wage garnishment:

If you are having a difficult time keeping up with your credit card accounts or other unsecured debt, your not alone!

Over the recent years, hundreds of thousands of people just like you have had to take on more credit in order to survive the downturn in our economy or other financial setbacks such as:

  • Loss of employment
  • Divorce
  • Illness
  • Death of a spouse
  • Disability
  • Too little income from Social Security, etc.

Once you miss a payment to one of your creditors, they will start calling and sending late notices.

You can download FREE INFORMATION ON HOW TO STOP COLLECTION CALLS by clicking on the button below:

STOP Collection Calls Free Sample Letter



The biggest mistake I see people make that can lead to a wage garnishment is to ignore the calls and/or letters.

Obviously, if you miss a payment, it is going to trigger a signal to alert the creditor.  Creditors don't necessarily want you to pay off your entire account (they make their money on interest and fees!), but they demand a monthly payment...or they get real upset!

Your account will usually be sent to an internal collections department within the company when it is about 90 days over due.  The collection departments job is to save the account...get you to start paying again.

They may offer you a HARDSHIP PLAN, but BE CAREFUL! 

Most hardship plans will offer you a small reduction in your payment and perhaps your interest rate for maybe, 6-12 months.  Sometimes, they may offer to waive the "late charges and/or over-the-limit" fees they may have tacked on to the balance. However, the problem with a hardship plan is that, while it may stop the calls, you are not really paying down the debt.

Also, once the time period of the hardship plan expires, you are right back to making the normal payments!


If a creditor cannot get you to start making payments again, they may decide to send the account to a collection agency. The calls and letters will start again as you will no longer be dealing with the original creditor anymore.

Just as you did before, you will need to send a letter to the collection agency to stop the calls.

If the collection agency cannot get you to pay, they may decide to file a complaint with your local courthouse stating that you owe the debt. The court will prepare a SUMMONS, and you will most likely get a know at the door one evening and someone (may be a police officer), will SERVE YOU THE SUMMONS.

Sounds intimidating...and it is! Yet, the worst thing you can do (and a lot of people make this mistake) is to ignore the summons!

The summons will state who you owe and how much, and it will say that you have 20-30 days (depending on your state's laws) to give an ANSWER. An answer is a legal term that you would file if you feel that you do not owe the debt.

In most states, you will have to pay a filing fee and it has to be legally correct in order to file, so you may need to hire an attorney.

Just because you received a summons does not mean that you are going to be sued, or go to jail, or have all of your belongings confiscated...you still have rights!

But what it DOES mean is that the creditor is SERIOUS about collecting the debt.

If you are employed, the creditor could be awarded 25% of your net take home pay until 100% of the debt is repaid with interest (9% in Oregon...each state varies a little).

Call the collection company or attorney representing the collection company and try to work out a SETTLEMENT or a repayment plan called a "stipulated agreement".

If you don't, the creditor will be awarded a judgment by default (called a default judgment), and now they can pursue legal avenues including wage garnishment!


I know, you most likely do not have a lot of money in savings, but let's say the total debt is $2,000 including interest, attorney fees and court costs, they may be will to take 70%-80% to settle the debt.

If you had contacted the creditor before the account went to collections and then the legal process, you may have been able to settle for 50% or less!

We have been helping people get out of debt for many years and would like to help you.

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Tags: debt collection, wage garnishment, credit card debt, credit card hardship plans, how to prevent wage garnishment, wage garnishment in oregon, debt settlement in oregon, collector

How to PREVENT Wage Garnishment

how to prevent wage garnishment

Money doesn't grow on trees!  You work hard every day to bring home your pay check and support your family, so it can be devastating when your creditors can come and "PICK" your hard earned wages.

It is sometimes possible to stop a wage garnishment, but it is better to PREVENT a wage garnishment!


Once you have fallen behind in paying on your credit or store cards, medical bills, personal line of credit, private student loan and any other UNSECURED debt, your creditors will start to call.

Once they have made repeated collection calls and sent you numerous collection letters, your creditors will start to threaten all sorts of things including "Pursuing Legal Action".


I know that it is scary, and it would be much easier to bury your head in the sand and ignor the creditors.  But, if you do, you may end up in a hole that you can't is too deep to get our of!  You need to be PRO-ACTIVE and CONTACT YOUR CREDITOR(S) IN WRITING stating that you cannot make payments at this time and plan on repaying this bill when you can.

This will not stop their collection efforts, but it will help slow down their options for filing a claim for the debt.  When you owe a debt, the creditor has the right to collect of course. However, they are supposed to do so within the laws stated in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).  Many unscrupulous collections agencies will ignore these laws, so it's extremely important that you KNOW YOUR RIGHTS, and stand up for your self throughout this process.  (Read More: "Know Your Rights When Dealing With Debt Collectors")


A CRISIS BUDGET is a short term budgeting tool that you can use when you have an unexpected income reduction or need to free up some money in your existing budget for an emergency.  I would say that this qualifies as an emergency! 

Take a close look at your budget, if you have one, and see how closely it matches to your ACTUAL SPENDING.  Most people create an ideal budget, but in reality their spending habits are significantly different. 

Once you have a clear picture or where your money is really going each month, look for areas of general improvement first.  Could you start making coffee at home a few days a week, or start bringing your lunch and eating out at work only once per week?  How about carpooling to work to save money on gas? These are goals that are realistic over the long run, but will usually not make enough difference in a state of crisis. 

Next, identify any areas in your budget that can be reduced for the next 6-12 months.  Can you live with basic cable instead of the premium cable TV package?    Is it possible to defer your student loan payments for a while?  Try calling your utility companies and see if they have a temporary hardship program.  Get creative.  After all, this is a CRISIS BUDGET.  You won't have to stick to it forever.

how to prevent wage garnishment


Now that you have re-evaluated your budget and freed up some money, you know what you have to work with.  This gives you power when you contact your collection agencies. 

The collector may accept a SETTLEMENT OFFER for less than you owe, or they may let you repay the debt over several months at a reduced interest rate.

Be strong, and stick to what you can actually pay.  Your creditors want your payments coming in each month.  They make money when they get to charge you interest, so it makes sense for them to work something out with you.  There is no point in working out a SETTLEMENT or REPAYMENT PLAN that you cannot pay!

  • If you have delinquent debts, BE PROACTIVE! Don't just ignore the calls and letters.
  • Create a CRISIS BUDGET that you can stick to while you are repaying your debt!
  • Try to work out a SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT or a REPAYMENT PLAN with the creditor or collection agency, and make sure that the payments fit into your crisis budget!


If all of this sounds like "TOO MUCH", then give us a call.  We have been helping people settle debts and prevent wage garnishment for 10 years.




Tags: crisis budget, fair debt collection practices act, debt settlement, how to prevent wage garnishment