Wages may be garnished in order to pay debts that have been reduced by a judge or taken by administrative orders to pay specific debts. Like some certain debts such as spousal support or child support, student loans or back taxes.
Wage garnishment allows a creditor to take a portion of your wages to pay debts that you owe. If your wages are already being garnished or you’re facing wage garnishment, but you are still wondering whether you will need to hire a lawyer or not.
Though, you can challenge the wage garnishment on your own, but it all depends on a number of factors in which you must consider in order to know whether you should hire a lawyer or address the garnishment some other way.
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A creditor might garnish your wages to pay a judgment it obtains against you. The creditor must first file documents with the court, asking it to order your employer to pay a portion of your wages to the creditor to satisfy your debt.
In some situations, a creditor may garnish your wages to pay debts without first getting a judgment. These kinds of garnishments are called “administrative wage garnishments.” In almost every case, the law mandates that child and spousal support be collected via wage garnishment, even if you agree to pay voluntarily. Other debts that can be collected through an administrative wage garnishment include federal student loans and back taxes.
If you’re facing wage garnishment, you might wonder if you can stop it. Sometimes, the best course of action is to do nothing and let your wages be garnished until you’ve repaid the debt. But other times, it might make sense to challenge the garnishment (or the amount) on your own, work out something with the creditor, or hire an attorney.
Below are some factors to consider when deciding what to do.:
You can hire a lawyer if:
- You don’t owe the debt
- The legal fees will exceed the amount of the debt
- The creditor is taking too much
- You want to work out other payment arrangements with your creditor
- Your employer is threatening to fire you because of the garnishment, and the creditor is trying to get around the wage exemption by garnishing a bank account.
In addition, you should be aware that bankruptcy will stop most wage garnishments.
If you already paid the debt, or you did not owe the debt, to begin with, you should consult with an attorney. At the time a garnishment has been filed, either a court or an administrative agency has determined that you’re legally obligated to pay that debt.
Because of this, proving that you don’t owe a debt once garnishment proceedings have begun can be very complicated. This is one instance where you will definitely need the help of a lawyer. An attorney can assist you in gathering the evidence you need to prove that the debt isn’t owed, and making sure that all procedural requirements are met.