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Do I have options if a credit card company garnishes my wages?

One of the things we've stressed in past blog posts is that seeking assistance from a bankruptcy attorney can help you keep your debt situation from getting further out of hand. If you are dealing with too much credit card debt and can't make ends meet every month, you might have missed a number of payments. While credit card companies often reach out to offer payment plans, they will also sue debtors who haven't paid or made arrangements.

When a credit card company -- or any unsecured creditor -- sues you, they try to get a judgment against you. The judgment is essentially a court order stating you owe the money, and it lets the creditor take additional steps to collect from you. That can include garnishing your wages or bank accounts via court order.

The creditor usually has to wait a certain amount of time after a judgment is issued before filing for a writ of garnishment. Once that document is signed by the court, then it is served on the garnishee -- which might be your employer or bank. You are also usually served with a copy and have a chance to dispute the garnishment at a court hearing, which could be scheduled months in the future. Meanwhile, some assets in your bank account might be frozen and your employer might withhold a portion of your paycheck to potentially pay the creditor.

One way to stop collection actions such as garnishment is to file bankruptcy. A few weeks ago, we talked about the power of the automatic stay with regard to stopping a foreclosure. The stay also stops most garnishments and levies. For more information about how the automatic stay might assist you, consider speaking with a bankruptcy attorney.

Source: Bankrate, "Stop wage garnishment after bankruptcy?," Justin Harelik, accessed May 27, 2016

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