If you fall behind on your debts, the people you may owe money to may have the right to ask the judge for a civil judgment against you. This judgment can be turned into a court order authorizing the creditor to take money from your paycheck every two weeks until the debt is satisfied. This process, known as a wage garnishment can be more than frustrating. If you are like millions of people who are currently struggling to make enough money to survive each week, a garnishment can make it impossible for you to make car payments, home loan payments, or even the medical bills necessary to keep you and your family afloat. One of the most difficult things about garnishments is that creditors often line up to be given the privilege to take money from you--meaning that once the process starts there can be several lined up to take money from you until you have nothing left. If this situation sounds familiar to you, this article will address how to stop wage garnishment in Seattle.
Settling Your Debts
If you only have a handful of creditors who are trying to garnish your wages, your best option may be to contact the creditor to see if they are willing to settle the debt. Settling a debt usually is suggested by an individual before the garnishment process begins. The best time to ask a creditor whether they are willing to negotiate with you is before they ask a judge to enter a judgment against you. Settlement is an option that can be achieved at any point after you get behind on payments to the creditor. If you are behind on only a handful of bills, this may be your best option. A simple phone call explaining your ability to pay, and what kind of time frame you would need to become current, may be all it takes to settle in some cases. If you are several months behind or if the legal process has already started, it may be time to hire an attorney to represent you during this process.
Filing for Bankruptcy Protection
If you decide to file for bankruptcy protection, the first thing you need to do is to talk to an attorney about your options. Filing a bankruptcy is a very complicated process, and it is not recommended that you file without professional help. After deciding to file bankruptcy, an attorney can help you prepare the appropriate paperwork. Creditors are not allowed to garnish your wages during the course of a bankruptcy case without prior court approval. Thankfully, it is very difficult to convince a judge to grant this permission in nearly every case. Starting the bankruptcy process does not mean that you are entitled to a refund on any monies already taken by the creditors. Whether or not you are required to continue to make payments on some or all of your debt depends on what type of case you need to file, so make sure you specify your preferences with an attorney.
The option least recommended would be to do nothing with your garnishments. Taking no action means that your creditors will be allowed to continue to take a portion of each paycheck until they are paid in full. If you only have one or two creditors, this may be a viable option. In most jurisdictions creditors are not allowed to take more than a set percentage of each check (on average about 25 percent). If you have significant debt, it is better to learn how to stop wage garnishment in Seattle than to let creditors take money from each paycheck.
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