Levying of your bank accounts or wage garnishments are typically the last step for a lender or institution who has otherwise been unable to obtain payment or communication from you – this is not a situation you want to be in.
When your wages are garnished, they can severely impact your finances and the amount of money you have available for basic necessities and to cover other bill obligations. There are steps you can take, however, to delay or end the process once it started; here’s how to stop wages from being garnished.
Consult with a Lawyer
If you find yourself in the position of having your wages garnished or your bank accounts frozen, don’t hesitate and contact a lawyer immediately. The reason you need to act quickly in this situation is because laws regarding garnishment of wages vary from state-to-state and you’ll want to get ahead of the problem before you exceed any time limitations or miss any windows of opportunity.
Be sure to consult with a consumer law attorney for your legal assistance as they will be more familiar with the law surrounding this area and can better help you navigate everything. If you’re concerned about the cost, most lawyers in this area have reduced pricing available based on your financial situation.
Garnishment Due to Consumer Debt
Consumer debt is defined as debts that are owed as a result of purchasing goods or services that are not able to appreciate in value. If you are notified of an intent to garnish your wages or levy your bank account, you’ll need to respond typically within a few days in order to halt the proceedings. Most likely, you’ll need to attend a court date and present your case to the judge, at which time the judge can either cease the garnishment, reduce the amount being garnished, or keep the current garnishment in place. You will need to prove an inability to meet the purchase of necessities with a wage garnishment.
Garnishment Due to Alimony and Child Support
If your wages are being garnished due to unpaid child support or alimony, you’ll need to go through a different process than a consumer wage garnishment. Child support and alimony garnishment proceedings are unique to your particular arrangement with your spouse or the child’s other caretaker. It’s best that you contact your family or divorce attorney in this case.
Garnishment Due to Student Loan Debt
If you’ve been notified of wage garnishment by you, your student loan lender, be sure to respond as soon as possible (typically 30 days). Contact your lender and see if you qualify for a loan modification to help you afford your debt repayment. If your loan is private, consider looking into government student debt programs that can help restructure or forgive some or all of your debt. If you don’t qualify for government assistance or a loan restructure, you can request a hearing and plead your case in court. You will need to show that you cannot afford a wage garnishment and a judge will either cancel it, keep the garnishment in place, or restructure the garnishment so you can better afford it.
Garnishment Due to Tax Debt
The IRS will only attempt to levy your accounts or garnish your wages if you have stopped payment to them for an extended period of time and not attempted to communicate with them regarding the issue. Your best option is to always communicate with the IRS if you’re having trouble paying your tax debt; however, if you find yourself in the position of IRS wage garnishment it’s recommended you try to speak with them to institute a payment plan you can afford and request the garnishment be canceled. If you cannot work anything out with the IRS, you can also contact the franchise tax board in your state and request assistance in arranging an alternative payment plan due to financial hardship.