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Fedoroff Firm LLC June 17, 2024

How Can I Stop a Wage Garnishment Immediately?

Having creditors and debt collectors bother you with phone calls and emails every day is one thing. But discovering that a portion of your hard-earned wages are being withheld to satisfy your debts is a whole different story. What you are dealing with is called “wage garnishment.”  

While those wage garnishments can be stressful and embarrassing, there are several options to put an end to it. Attorney Vera Fedoroff at Fedoroff Firm LLC has more than 20 years of experience helping people just like you regain control of their finances through bankruptcy and other debt relief options.

As a wage garnishment attorney in Howell, New Jersey, she can explain how you could remove those garnishment deductions from your paycheck and work toward a position resolution of your situation with confidence.  

What Is Wage Garnishment? How Does It Work? 

Wage garnishment is a legal process where a court orders an employer to withhold a portion of your earnings to pay off your debt.  

The withheld amount is then sent directly to the creditor until the debt is fully paid. This can significantly reduce your take-home pay, limit your day-to-day spending, and create additional financial strain.  

The legal procedure of a wage garnishment consists of three steps: 

  1. Court order. The creditor must first file a lawsuit and obtain a judgment against you. Once the court rules in favor of the creditor, a garnishment order is issued. 

  1. Employer notification. Your employer receives the garnishment order and is legally obliged to withhold the specified amount from your paycheck. 

  1. Withholding of wages. The withheld wages are sent to the creditor as stipulated by the court order. 

The types of debts that can lead to wage garnishment include unpaid taxes, student loans, child support and alimony payments, medical bills, and credit card debts.  

Your Options to Stop a Wage Garnishment

When the court orders your employer to garnish your wages, it might seem like your financial situation is completely out of your control now. Fortunately, however, it may still be possible to stop wage garnishment and get back on track financially. Some of the options include:  

Pay off the debt 

Once the debt is paid, you won't have to worry about creditors or wage deductions, allowing you to rebuild your financial life. However, paying off the debt is rarely an option for people in a bad financial situation unless they have enough savings tucked away or are willing to sell their assets. As an alternative, filing for bankruptcy can discharge many types of debt, providing a fresh start without the need to come up with a large sum of money upfront. 

Make a deal with your creditor

Negotiations with your creditor is another option. You can discuss setting up a payment plan that is more manageable for you. Creditors might agree to lower your monthly payments if they see you are making an effort to pay off the debt. Your creditor may even be willing to accept less than the full amount owed if it means they get paid sooner. If you choose to file for bankruptcy instead, the court can force creditors to accept a payment plan or even discharge the debt altogether.  

Challenge the garnishment 

If you believe the wage garnishment is incorrect or unfair, you can challenge it in court. For example, if you can prove that the garnishment is based on erroneous information or fraud, the court may stop the garnishment. In addition, creditors must follow legal procedures to garnish your wages. When they don’t, you may have grounds to challenge the garnishment. The downside of trying to challenge a garnishment is that it can be time-consuming and costly. By contrast, bankruptcy can offer a more straightforward solution to dealing with your debts and garnishments. 

File a claim of exemption

In some cases, a debtor may be able to file a claim of exemption to stop wage garnishment. This may work if the garnishment is causing undue financial hardship or, in other words, leaves you unable to meet basic living expenses. Also, certain types of income, including Social Security benefits and unemployment compensation, are typically protected from garnishment. While filing a claim of exemption can provide temporary relief, bankruptcy offers a long-term solution by potentially discharging the debt and stopping garnishments permanently. 

Generally, none of these options are nearly as effective as filing for bankruptcy if your goal is to stop creditors from withholding your hard-earned money from paychecks as soon as possible.  

Is Bankruptcy the Best Option to Provide Immediate Relief?

It could be. Bankruptcy provides an immediate and effective solution to dealing with wage garnishment. It not only stops wage garnishment but also addresses your debts, giving you a fresh financial start. Here are some of the reasons why you may want to consider filing for bankruptcy if your wages are being garnished:  

  • Automatic stay. When you file for bankruptcy, an automatic stay goes into effect, immediately halting not only wage garnishments but also other collection activities. 

  • Debt discharge. In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you can discharge many types of unsecured debt, such as credit card debt and medical bills, freeing you from the obligation to repay them.  

  • Structured repayment. In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you can set up a repayment plan to pay back certain debts over three to five years, often with reduced payments.  

While filing for bankruptcy can help you stop wage garnishment and regain control of your finances, you need to prepare for bankruptcy to ensure that everything goes smoothly and without complications.  

Put an End to Wage Garnishments

As an approachable and compassionate advisor, Attorney Vera Fedoroff can assist you in navigating your options for removing the wage garnishment order and regaining access to your money. She can explain what you can do today to address your debt head-on and get the fresh start you deserve.  

With an office in Howell, Fedoroff Firm LLC serves clients throughout Wall Township, Brick Township, Jackson Township, and Freehold Township. If you're ready to discuss how you can stop a wage garnishment once and for all, schedule a consultation.


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