If you’re facing wage garnishment, you’re not alone. Thousands of Americans have their wages garnished every year, and it can be a stressful and frustrating experience. In fact, nearly 5 million workers in the United States had their wages garnished in 2020 alone.
This can be a challenging and long situation. Don’t worry; there are things that you can do to avoid this happening to you. Keep reading to learn about six ways to stop wage garnishment from happening to you.
What is Wage Garnishment
Wage garnishment is a legal process in which a creditor or debt collector can collect a portion of your wages directly from your employer. This is done to pay off a debt that you owe, such as unpaid taxes, child support, student loans, or credit card debt.
The creditor or debt collector must obtain a court order before they can garnish your wages. Once the court order is obtained, your employer is required to withhold a certain percentage of your wages and send it directly to the creditor or debt collector. The amount that can be garnished varies depending on the type of debt and the state you live in.
Wage garnishment can be a stressful and overwhelming experience because it can make it difficult to pay for basic necessities like rent, food, and utilities. However, there are ways to stop wage garnishment and protect your wages. By understanding your rights and options, you can take steps to stop wage garnishment and regain control of your finances.
1. Pay Off Debt
The most obvious way to stop wage garnishment is to pay off your debt in full. If you can afford to pay the full amount owed, contact the creditor or debt collector and make arrangements to pay off the debt as soon as possible. Once the debt is paid off, the wage garnishment will stop.
Another way to stop wage garnishment is to negotiate with the creditor or debt collector. They may be willing to work out a payment plan or settle for less than what you owe. However, it’s important to have a tax lawyer or debt counselor help you negotiate the terms to ensure that you’re not being taken advantage of.
3. Hire a Tax Lawyer
If you owe taxes to the IRS, hiring a tax lawyer may be your best bet to stop wage garnishment. Tax lawyers are knowledgeable about tax laws and can work with the IRS on your behalf to negotiate a settlement or payment plan.
4. Protect Your Wages
Under federal law, there are limits to how much of your wages can be garnished. If the amount being garnished is more than what is allowed, you can file a claim of exemption with the court. This will protect your wages from being garnished for a certain period of time.
5. File for Bankruptcy
If you’re facing overwhelming debt, filing for bankruptcy may be the best option to stop wage garnishment. Filing for bankruptcy will put an automatic stay on wage garnishment, which means that creditors cannot continue to garnish your wages while the bankruptcy case is pending.
6. Seek Legal Help
If you’re facing wage garnishment, seeking legal help from an experienced attorney can be beneficial. Tax debt consultants can help you understand your rights and options and guide you through the legal process to stop wage garnishment.
Tips and Tricks
Prevention is always better than finding a cure. The best way to avoid wage garnishment is to take action before it happens. Here are some tips and tricks to follow so that you can avoid wage garnishment:
Stay Current on Debt Payments
The best way to avoid wage garnishment is to stay current on your debt payments. If you’re struggling to make payments, contact your creditors and try to work out a payment plan or settlement. Ignoring the debt won’t make it go away, and it will only make it harder to resolve.
Seek Financial Assistance
If you’re facing financial difficulties, you should know there are resources available to help you. Nonprofit credit counseling agencies can provide free or low-cost financial counseling and assistance. They can help you create a budget, negotiate with creditors, and develop a plan to pay off your debt.
Know Your Rights
It’s important to know your rights when it comes to wage garnishment. Under federal law, there are limits to how much of your wages can be garnished. If you’re facing wage garnishment, contact a lawyer or legal aid organization to understand your options and protect your rights.
File for Bankruptcy
If you’re facing overwhelming debt, filing for bankruptcy may be the best option to avoid wage garnishment. Filing for bankruptcy will put an automatic stay on wage garnishment, which means that creditors cannot continue to garnish your wages while the bankruptcy case is pending.
Avoid Debt Collection Scams
Be wary of debt collection scams that promise to stop wage garnishment for a fee. Legitimate debt counselors and lawyers can provide assistance, but you should never pay upfront fees to resolve your debt.
Wage garnishment can be a difficult and stressful experience, but there are steps you can take to avoid it. By staying current on debt payments, seeking financial assistance, knowing your rights, filing for bankruptcy, and avoiding debt collection scams, you can protect your wages and avoid wage garnishment.
Stop Wage Garnishment Today
Wage garnishment can be a difficult situation to deal with, but there are ways to stop it. Whether it’s paying off debt or negotiating with creditors, there are options available to protect your wages and stop wage garnishment.
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