When debt collectors call incessantly, it can be tempting to simply avoid the phone. However, if debt goes unpaid and unaddressed, those struggling to cover their bills could be at risk for losing a portion of their paychecks to creditors automatically. There are many ways to avoid having your wages garnished when you are struggling with debt and there are even ways to stop garnishment once the process has begun. Though the thought of ignoring one’s unpaid debt can be enticing, seeking the advice of an attorney can better ensure that employees who are struggling financially receive their full paychecks.

The Wage Garnishment Process

When child support, taxes and even credit card debt are overdue for several months, creditors and the government may file a lawsuit against debtors. Once the court rules against a sufficiently employed debtor, it may order that the debtor’s wages be garnished. Though Title III of the Consumer Credit Protection Act protects employees from having their wages garnished past a certain point, paychecks may be garnished anywhere from 25-50 percent, depending on the type of debt involved. Title III’s protections evaporate if a debtor receives additional garnishment orders for subsequent debts.

Avoiding or Ending Wage Garnishment

When debt is becoming unmanageable, debtors should seek out the advice of an experienced attorney. Attorneys can evaluate the situation and work with creditors or the government to institute a repayment plan in order to get the debt under control and keep the situation out of the courts. If an employee is already facing garnishment, an attorney may persuade the court to lower the amount being garnished or may advise that the employee attempt to end the garnishment through the bankruptcy process. In either situation, there are solutions to the seemingly overwhelming problem of potential or actual wage garnishment.

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