How to Stop Wage Garnishment — Everything You Need to Know

George Simons

August 14, 2020

Summary: Did you lose a debt lawsuit and now your wages are being garnished? Then this guide is for you. You can use SoloSuit to respond to a debt lawsuit or to get a default judment removed and give you a second chance.

If an adverse judgment or default judgment was entered against you in a debt collection lawsuit, there is a strong likelihood that the debt collection company will attempt to garnish your wages in an effort to collect on the amount owed. In this difficult moment, it is common for people to think bankruptcy is their only option. This is not accurate. You actually have a number of options available to prevent a debt collector from garnishing your wages.

Respond to the Creditor's Final Warning Letter

When a debt collector obtains a judgment against you in a collections lawsuit, many states require the debt collector to send you a final warning letter before it can actually garnish your wages. As a result, if you receive this warning letter in the mail, make sure to actually respond to it. Why? Because many debt collectors prefer to work out an amicable payment plan rather than going through the time-consuming and arduous process of establishing a wage garnishment. This presents you with an opportunity to try and negotiate with the debt collector before your wages are garnished.

Research Options Available in Your State

Many state legislatures have codified additional legal protections for consumers to help restrict the circumstances in which their wages can be garnished. For example, if you reside in California, you can file a “claim of exemption” which enables you to reduce or eliminate the wage garnishment. In order for your claim of exemption to be viable, you need to be able to show economic hardship and that you need your full income to support your family.

Another example can be found in Ohio. If you reside in the Buckeye State, you have the option to request the court to appoint a trustee. In a trusteeship, you have the ability to make payments to the trustee, as opposed to the debt collector. The trustee will then distribute your payments to your creditors. The major benefit of this option is that when you are in a trusteeship, a debt collector is prohibited from garnishing your wages.

Formally Object to the Wage Garnishment

If a debt collector proceeds in the garnishment process, you will probably receive a copy of the garnishment order and notice of wage garnishment from your employer. Once you receive these documents, you should file an objection to the garnishment. Please be advised that the objection needs to be in writing and filed with the court. Your objection also needs to request a formal hearing.

Objections You Can Raise to Challenge the Wage Garnishment

If you decide to object to the wage garnishment, there are a number of different objections you could potentially raise, including:

  • The creditor is attempting to garnish too much money - Pursuant to federal law, a creditor may only garnish the lesser of (i) 25 percent of your disposable earnings or (ii) your disposable earnings minus 30 times the federal minimum wage.
  • The creditor failed to follow proper protocols - If the creditor who is attempting to garnish your wages failed to follow the established garnishment procedure, there is a possibility that the court would be open to terminating the garnishment order. An example of an improper garnishment would be if a creditor fails to provide you timely notice of the wage garnishment.
  • You already paid the creditor - This is probably one of the most frustrating situations a consumer can find themselves in. They already paid the creditor the amount listed in the judgment. Nevertheless, the creditor mistakenly proceeded with a wage garnishment. You most definitely need to object if this happens.
  • Challenge the judgment that was entered against you - If you have good reason to challenge the adverse judgment entered by the court, you may be able to object to the judgment itself. For example, if you were never properly served with the complaint, you could object to the court entering a default judgment against you. Please note that you are not able to challenge the judgment at the garnishment hearing. Nevertheless, you may be able to vacate the judgment by filing a separate motion, posting a bond and attending a separate hearing to argue why the judgment should be vacated.

Make Sure to Attend the Objection Hearing

As mentioned, if you object to a wage garnishment, you need to request a formal hearing before a court. Once the hearing is scheduled, you need to make sure you actually attend the hearing. If you file an objection to the wage garnishment, but fail to attend the hearing, the court will likely overrule your objection and the wage garnishment will proceed.

Need Help Stopping a Wage Garnishment? Use SoloSuit

SoloSuit helps explain and walk you through the process of halting a wage garnishment. Here is how it typically works - you access SoloSuit, which is a dynamic, step-by-step web-app. When you are in the app, you will be asked specific questions. Once you answer these questions, you can either print the completed legal documents and mail the hard copies to the court or you can pay SoloSuit to file it for you and to have an experienced and knowledgeable attorney review the document.

If you lost your debt collection lawsuit by default judgment because you didn't respond, we can help you file a Motion to Set Aside to give a second chance on the case.

Respond with SoloSuit

"First time getting sued by a debt collector and I was searching all over YouTube and ran across SoloSuit, so I decided to buy their services with their attorney reviewed documentation which cost extra but it was well worth it! SoloSuit sent the documentation to the parties and to the court which saved me time from having to go to court and in a few weeks the case got dismissed!" – James


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>>Read the FastCompany article: Debt Lawsuits Are Complicated: This Website Makes Them Simpler To Navigate

>>Read the NPR story on SoloSuit: A Student Solution To Give Utah Debtors A Fighting Chance

If you need help filing the necessary legal documents to stop a wage garnishment, consider utilizing the services available through SoloSuit. What is SoloSuit? Take a moment to review these FAQs to learn more.

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Summary of What To Do To Stop Wage Garnishment by a Debt Collector

Here is an overview of what you need to do to stop a wage garnishment:

  • Respond the the debt collector's demand letter
  • Research the protections available in your state
  • Consider filing an objection to the wage garnishment proceeding. Remember you have different arguments you could raise for challenging the wage garnishment, like the creditor is attempting to collect too much money or they failed to follow proper protocols.

Best of Luck!

Additional Resources

Tips on you can to file an FDCPA lawsuit against a debt collection agency

Advice on how to answer a summons for debt collection.

Effective strategies for how to get back on track after a debt lawsuit.

How to Answer a Summons for Debt Collection Guides for All 50 States

Here's a list of our guides for all 50 states.

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