Several negative consequences come with owing a significant amount of debt. In addition to the stress you may feel when you realize that you cannot manage your payments any longer, you may also be getting phone calls from debt collectors and letters from creditors. At some point, you may get notice that a creditor initiated the wage garnishment process.
This process is a way through which a creditor can recoup payment for past-due debts. It means that you will see a deduction in your paycheck held back by your employer. This amount will go toward what you owe to the creditor. This can be frustrating, especially if you are already struggling financially. It is in your interests to know about your rights and find out what you can expect from this process.
What happens during garnishment?
Wage garnishment is a serious response by a creditor who is trying to collect on a delinquent account. No matter how far behind a person may be on his or her debts, a creditor cannot simply contact an employer and decide to withhold wages. There must be a court order to initiate this process. There are limits to this process, and you have certain rights, no matter how much money you owe. It may help to understand the following:
- There are limits to the amount of your income that your employer can garnish. It should not exceed more than 25% of your disposable income each week.
- Your employer cannot fire you because a creditor initiates the wage garnishment process for one debt. This rule does not apply if you have multiple garnishments at one time.
- The garnishment process will last until the debt is paid or the debtor files for bankruptcy.
It can feel like a defeat to learn that a creditor is moving to garnish your wages. If you do not have your full amount of income, how can you ever get ahead and catch up on your bills? Thankfully, there are options available to you.
Protect your wages
One way you can make the wage garnishment process stop is to file for consumer bankruptcy. This is probably not your first choice, but this can offer you protection from collection efforts, including wage garnishment. Upon filing, these things will stop.
Through bankruptcy, you can discharge certain types of debt. This allows you emerge from the process with the ability to secure a better and brighter financial future. If you are facing the threat of wage garnishment and other collection efforts, you may want to speak with a Virginia attorney about your legal options.