California residents with serious debt might worry about wage garnishment. You should know how to stop garnishment along with other forms of creditor activity.
What is wage garnishment?
Wage garnishment is a tool used by creditors to collect debt from people who owe them. Garnishment works by automatically deducting money from your paycheck to satisfy a debt. With each payment through garnishment, the amount is added to your total debt to reduce the balance that’s owed.
How does wage garnishment happen?
Your wages are garnished only after a creditor sues you for nonpayment of debt. The debt could be from a credit card company or a bank. If the creditor wins the case and gets a judgment against you for nonpayment, they could ask the court to garnish your wages so they can be paid back. The wage garnishment order goes to your employer, which is why some of your wages are deducted to go toward the debt.
In addition to credit card debt or loan debt, you can have your wages garnished to satisfy other nonpayment debt. Garnishment can occur when you owe taxes, alimony, child support payments or student loans.
How can you stop wage garnishment?
One of the best ways to stop wage garnishment is by filing for bankruptcy. However, there are other methods available if you prefer not to file bankruptcy.
Once a creditor gets a judgment against you, you’re entitled to receive a demand letter warning you of the garnishment. You have the right to respond to it and can negotiate a payment plan with the creditor.
Credit counseling is another option available to stop garnishment. You can meet with a counselor who can help you create a debt management plan. If the creditors agree, they may forgo the garnishment.
You can make an exemption claim with the state that proves the garnishment would be an economic hardship, it can prevent the wage garnishment from happening.
You can also object to garnishment in writing and request a hearing with the court.