Did your employer just inform you that your wages are going to be garnished? A garnishment is a court order requiring your employer to withhold part of your paycheck to go towards paying a judgment. There's not a much quicker way to ruin your day than find out your paycheck will be suddenly decreased by several hundred dollars. However, all may not be lost! You have a couple options to fix your predicament. This article focuses on 3 options to help you remove this garnishment and retake all of your hard-earned paycheck.
- 1. Settle or pay your debt – This is the quickest (and probably most obvious way) to stop the garnishment. It never hurts to make an offer and see what the creditor will say. Sometimes its surprising how little they'll settle for. The other option is to pay the debt in full. Once a judgment has been paid, or "satisfied" in legalese, then the creditor must file a satisfaction of judgment notice with the court.
- 2. Make Payment Arrangements – This will be a tough sell to the creditor—especially if they're receiving more money from the garnishment. If you can make an offer before they find out that you have a job or where your work, this can help though. And again, what does it hurt to try?
- 3. File Bankruptcy – This is the only sure-fire way to stop a garnishment outside of paying the judgment. Any other option will require that the creditor agree to release the garnishment. But filing bankruptcy will impose what's called the "automatic stay" forcing the creditors to stop the garnishment. This takes effect the day your bankruptcy is filed meaning that you can usually file even the day before the garnishment is scheduled to be taken out of your paycheck and stop it. Of course a lot of it depends on how fast your payroll department can update their system.
Once the garnishment is in place, the key to getting it released is to get a document called the release of garnishment. This is a document filed with the court and sent to the employer to stop the garnishment. It will be signed by the creditor or its attorney and instruct the employer to stop withholding the wages. Once it's done, you're home free! Your garnishment is released!
Knowing whether methods 2 or 3 are your best options to stop a garnishment is best advised through a consulting service or an attorney. Many of these businesses or law firms offer free consultations to evaluate your situation and will advise on what they see as your best course of action. Remember, knowledge is power, so getting a couple of opinions and opening as many doors as possible to fix financial problems will only help you in your quest to repair your finances.