If your debt goes into collections, you may be worried about wage garnishment. What is wage garnishment? How does it work? Will it happen to me? These are all valid questions. This blog will discuss wage garnishment in detail, provide ways to avoid it, and options if you are already being garnished.
How Does Wage Garnishment Work?
In Tennessee, wage garnishment happens when a creditor gets a court order to take money out of your paycheck to pay down your debt. The creditor will send the order to your employer, who will then withhold the specified amount from your paycheck each pay period and send it directly to the creditor. Wage garnishment can be used for various types of debt, including but not limited to:
- Unpaid taxes
- Child support
- Student loans
- Credit card debt
- Medical bills
A creditor can garnish the lesser between 25% of your disposable earnings for that week or the amount by which your disposable earnings for the week exceed 30 times the federal minimum hourly wage. With wage garnishment being one of the most common debt collection methods, it's essential to know your options if you find yourself in this situation.
How Will I Find Out My Wages Being Garnished?
If you're worried your wages might be garnished, there are a few things to look out for. First, you will likely receive notice from the court or your creditor that they intend to garnish your wages. This notice will include information on the debt and how much is owed. It's important to note that wage garnishment can only happen if you have been adequately served with this notice. If you have not received notice, your wages cannot be garnished.
If you receive notice from a creditor or the court, it is crucial to take action immediately to avoid having your wages garnished.
How to Avoid Wage Garnishment
There are several things you can do to avoid wage garnishment. Let's explore the three most common tactics.
Negotiating with Creditors
First, if you're already in the process of being garnished, you can try to negotiate with your creditor. This may involve setting up a payment plan or agreeing to a lump sum payment. You can also try to negotiate a lower garnishment amount. If you're successful, the creditor will need to file a new court order with your employer.
You can try to consolidate your debt. This will lower your monthly payments and make it easier to stay on top of your debt and catch up on payments to avoid wage garnishment.
Filing for Bankruptcy
Another option is to file for bankruptcy. This will stop wage garnishment immediately. This will stop all collection activity, including wage garnishment, and financially give you a fresh start.
What Should I Do If My Wages Are Being Garnished?
First, make sure that the garnishment is actually for a debt you owe. Sometimes creditors will erroneously garnish wages. If found that the garnishment is an error, you can file a dispute with your employer.
If your wages are already being garnished, it is crucial to enlist the assistance of a lawyer who specializes in wage garnishment. An experienced wage garnishment lawyer will be able to review your situation and help you choose the best course of action.
How The Law Offices Of Mayer & Newton Can Help You Today
Wage garnishment can be stressful, but there are ways to avoid it and get out of it if you're already being garnished. Contact our Tennessee bankruptcy team today if you have any questions about wage garnishment or need assistance dealing with your debt. We would be happy to help!
Contact us today by calling (865) 328-7993 or through our online contact form. Let us help you keep your hard-earned money.