Received notice of garnishment? What to do now to stop garnished wages

Have you received a notice of garnishment? If you have, you don’t need to panic. Now’s the time to get informed about what a notice of garnishment means for you and your finances. Let’s look at the facts.

A notice of garnishment is a legal notification that a writ of garnishment has been ordered against you. This means that a court has judged that you owe funds to a creditor that you have not paid, and has ordered your employer to garnish your wages — or remove up to 25% of your post-tax earnings from your paycheck and give that money to the creditor that filed for the writ against you.

You may be panicked to think that your paycheck will be smaller when you’re already struggling with debt. It’s important to get educated about your options so that you can make smart choices in this difficult situation. So before we talk about how to respond to a notice of garnishment, let’s look at some mistakes that you don’t want to make.

Three mistakes to avoid after a notice of garnishment

Faced with garnished wages, you may be looking for any alternative to fix the situation. Here are three things you should NOT do to try to stop wage garnishment:

Can I plead with my employer to give back my garnished wages? If your employer has been court ordered to turn over your garnished wages to a creditor, they must do so under penalty of law. It’s not the employer’s choice, so you won’t be able to convince them not to remove the funds from your paycheck.

Should I quit my job and go work elsewhere? Quitting your current job will not erase the debt — it will only leave you without the money to pay it. Once you find another job, the creditor can file to have your wages garnished there. You’re best off staying employed where you are.

Can I dispute the notice of garnishment if I owe the money? If you truly owe your garnished wages, disputing a garnishment will not make the garnishment go away. Instead, it could cost you time and money that could be better spent eliminating the debt.

The only real solutions to garnished wages

Once a legal judgment has been placed against you for a valid debt, it’s unlikely to get it removed. You really only have two options to stop your employer from reducing your paycheck.

Work with the creditor. If you haven’t yet attempted to contact the creditor and ask for a payment plan or debt reduction, you can try to work something out with them. Unfortunately, by the time there’s a garnishment in place, the creditor may not be willing to work with you because they’ve already gained a legal judgment for the money. If you’re unable to work out a solution with the creditor, your other option is…

File for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy protections automatically put a stop to garnished wages.  If bankruptcy is right for your situation, you can either completely eliminate the debt or greatly reduce it. Bankruptcy prevents creditors from taking any other legal action against you to collect debts, including garnishment. It provides the only way under the law to stop a valid wage garnishment.

Is bankruptcy right for you?

Only a licensed Ohio bankruptcy attorney can evaluate your situation and help you decide if and when bankruptcy is the right choice for your financial situation. Contact us for a free, confidential consultation with an Ohio bankruptcy lawyer to discuss your debt elimination options.