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Wage Garnishments in Renton
Garnishment is a legal tool creditors can use to force you to pay a debt after they have been unable to collect in other ways. A court can order your employer or a bank to turn the money they are holding for you to a creditor. Creditors usually prefer to garnish wages because they can keep collecting 25% of your take home pay instead of hitting a bank account just once, possibly when there is no money in it.
A bankruptcy stops garnishments immediately. You may even be able to recover wages that were garnished in the last 60 days. Don’t let this make you believe it is ok to put off dealing with a looming garnishment. If your wages are being garnished, you may have trouble paying the fees necessary to file a bankruptcy. Problems and stress can occur when you try to file a bankruptcy in a hurry as well. Some forms of income, such as social security, unemployment insurance and child support can not be garnished. If your source of income is from these sources, you are “judgment proof”, meaning you have no money that is not exempt from garnishment. Many people who are judgment proof file bankruptcy anyway just to know their financial issues have been taken care of and to stop nasty debt collection attempts.
A judge will issue a garnishment order until the creditor has a judgment. The creditor can not get a judgment until they have personally served you with a law suit. They can not mail notice of a law suit to you. You have 20 days to answer the law suit. If you do not, they will obtain a default judgment without you even being in court. If you answer the law suit you can at least get a day in court and slow the process down. A bankruptcy will stop the law suit and eliminate the risk of garnishment.
Other than the obvious financial burden imposed by a garnishment, it will also make your employer aware of your financial problems. You can not be fired for the first garnishment but it may hurt your reputation at work. Payroll departments do not like to deal with the paperwork involved in a garnishment. That is another reason you should contact a bankruptcy attorney well before you are garnished.
However, if you are being garnished bankruptcy may be the only way out. Garnishment is a terrible way to pay off a debt. You could find that 25% of your net earnings do not even cover the reoccurring attorney’s fees. Filing bankruptcy after a garnishment is a bit more difficult but definitely not impossible and it will provide you with immediate relief.