In the event that a creditor sues you and successfully gets a judgment, a wage garnishment is one way they can collect. A wage garnishment allows your creditor to take part of your employment income. This is accomplished through a wage garnishment order that the judgment creditor serves on your employer. Then, your employer has to withhold money from each paycheck you get and give that money directly to your creditor. It most certainly is not an easy position to find yourself in. The good news is that there are circumstances that let you object to a wage garnishment, otherwise known as grounds for objection to wage garnishment.
When You Can Object
There are a handful of circumstances that you could find yourself in that gives you the grounds to object to a wage garnishment. Knowing these can go a long way in helping you keep the majority, if not all, of your income.
An easy objection for you could come about if the creditor did not follow proper procedure. Before they are allowed to garnish your wages, they have to complete certain procedures, like providing you with notices and the opportunity to set up a payment plan. You can also object if you are already having your wages garnished by another creditor. Typically, you can only be garnished by a single creditor at a time so it will not be something you see too often. Still, it is enough to raise an objection.
You can also object to a wage garnishment if a creditor is taking more than is allowed under wage exemption laws. There are laws in place at both the federal and state level that lets you keep a certain amount of your income, keeping it free from creditors. Just know that you have to claim your exemptions in order to prevent a creditor from taking more than what is allowed. You should consult with an attorney to learn about your state’s specific wage garnishment laws and exemptions that are available to you.
Another circumstance that can give you grounds to object to a wage garnishment is if you already paid, or are currently paying, the creditor. You can raise an objection if you:
- Are making payments voluntarily or with a court-ordered payment plan
- Already paid the judgment
- Did not get proper credit from the creditor for post-judgment payments you made
Filing for Bankruptcy Can Help
One of the more desirable perks of filing for bankruptcy is the automatic stay that gets put in place once you file. An automatic stay makes it so creditors can no longer take actions to collect from you, including wage garnishment. By law, once your creditor receives notice of your bankruptcy, they must halt all collection actions against you. The automatic stay will remain in play as long as the bankruptcy lasts.
It is important to note that an automatic stay does not apply to all types of debt or all creditors in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If the debt is for something like child support or alimony, which is not dischargeable in Chapter 7, the creditor will not have to stop a wage garnishment. All in all, wage garnishments can seriously hinder your ability to make a living. It is important to consult an attorney if your creditor is trying to garnish your wages.
Contact a Cherry Hill Bankruptcy Attorney for a Consultation About Bankruptcy in New Jersey Today
If you are struggling with debt, you may need a fresh start financially. An experienced bankruptcy and debt relief attorney can help you explore your options and determine the best course of action for you, your family, and/or your business. The experienced New Jersey bankruptcy lawyers at The Law Office of Joel R. Spivack understand the nuances of New Jersey and federal bankruptcy laws, so we can help you protect your interests. Call us anytime at (856) 488-1200 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a confidential consultation. We have an office conveniently located at 1415 Marlton Pike East, Suite 302 , Cherry Hill, NJ 08034.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.