Sarah Edwards | April 19, 2023
Summary: In Delaware, creditors can garnish up to 15% of your wages if they win a judgment against you. If you settle the debt before going to court, you can avoid wage garnishment and move on with your life. SoloSettle can help you navigate the debt settlement process and from start to finish.
If you’re facing a debt lawsuit in Delaware, you need to know how to handle the situation and what the repercussions of losing your case could be. In a debt lawsuit, a creditor will try to convince a judge that you owe the money and that the only way to collect it is through a judgment.
A judgment allows your creditor to escalate collection efforts through wage garnishment. A wage garnishment order means your employer must withhold a portion of your paycheck to repay your creditor. It’s common to have a higher monthly payment through wage garnishment than in a traditional repayment arrangement, making it harder to afford your other expenses, like rent and groceries.
Luckily, Delaware law regulates wage garnishment to protect consumers from unfair treatment. And if you settle your debt before going to court, you can avoid wage garnishment altogether. Keep reading to learn more.
According to Del. Code Ann. tit. 10, § 4913, creditors who win the right to garnish your wages can seize up to 15% of your disposable earnings. Your disposable earnings equal your income less any required withholdings for taxes or Social Security. However, income from self-employment is not subject to wage garnishment.
There are several exemptions for Delaware residents. Under Del. Code Ann. tit. 10, § 4915, all payments from a retirement plan, life insurance contract, or annuity are exempt from wage garnishment orders. For instance, if a relative dies and you are the recipient of their life insurance proceeds, a creditor cannot garnish the amount you receive.
Similarly, creditors cannot garnish assets and payments from qualified tuition programs and ABLE accounts per Del. Code Ann. tit. 10, § 4916. This means that if you’re attending college with proceeds from a 529 plan, you don’t need to worry about a creditor seizing the money to use toward your debt.
Let’s consider an example.
Example: Kramer owes $4,950 for an old credit card he used to self-publish his book about coffee tables. When the book failed to sell, he stopped paying the creditor. The creditor decided to sue Kramer, and it won a judgment against him. Kramer currently has weekly disposable earnings of $1,000 from his job as a portrait model. Under Delaware law, his employer must withhold $150 from his weekly pay for 33 weeks until he repays the credit card debt.
Our example illustrates how much weekly income Kramer will lose because of wage garnishment. He could have avoided the situation if he had been proactive.
If you receive notice of a debt lawsuit against you, you’ll need to take action quickly.
Your first step is to draft an Answer in response to the lawsuit. An Answer is a formal response to your creditor that identifies why you believe its claims aren’t credible. For instance, you might argue the debt is past the statute of limitations or that the lawsuit amount differs from your records.
If you’re unsure how to draft an Answer, watch this helpful video from SoloSuit:
Your next step is deciding how to resolve the debt before your court date. Essentially, you have two options: repaying the debt entirely or trying to settle it.
Repaying the entirety of the debt stops any further legal action against you. If you pay before your court date, your creditor must drop the lawsuit since there’s no longer a reason to sue you. You won’t need to worry about a judgment or wage garnishment.
However, you may not have the money available for a total repayment. If that’s the case for you, debt settlement may work.
In a debt settlement, you offer your creditor a fraction of the debt’s total value in a lump-sum payment. In exchange, the creditor agrees to dismiss the case against you and release you from the remaining balance of the obligation.
Debt settlement is advantageous to creditors who don’t want to deal with the hassle of the legal process and further collection actions. It benefits you since you’ll no longer need to worry about a judgment or wage garnishment.
Debt settlement companies can be expensive, time-consuming, and even scammy. Luckily, you can work out a debt settlement on your own with the help of SoloSettle.
SoloSettle, powered by SoloSuit, is a tech-based approach to debt settlement. Our software helps you send and receive settlement offers until you reach an agreement with your creditor or debt collector.
Here are a few features that make SoloSettle unique:
To learn more about how SoloSettle can help you settle your debt and avoid wage garnishment, check out this video:
If you’re facing a debt lawsuit in Delaware, acting quickly is in your best interests. Respond to the creditor’s Complaint with an Answer, and decide how to resolve the obligation before your court date. If you’re successful, you’ll avoid the damaging impact of a judgment and wage garnishment.
SoloSettle is here to help you settle your debt in Delaware. Don’t wait; get started now!
SoloSuit makes it easy to fight debt collectors.
You can use SoloSuit to respond to a debt lawsuit, to send letters to collectors, and even to settle a debt.
SoloSuit's Answer service is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your Answer. Upon completion, we'll have an attorney review your document and we'll file it for you.
>>Read the FastCompany article: Debt Lawsuits Are Complicated: This Website Makes Them Simpler To Navigate
>>Read the NPR story on SoloSuit. (We can help you in all 50 states.)
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Out Debt Validation Letter is the best way to respond to a collection letter. Many debt collectors will simply give up after receiving it.
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