October 16, 2022
Eric Seyvertsen, Attorney
120 North Hunter Street #307
Stockton, CA 95202
You’re being sued by a credit card company and you expect to lose your lawsuit, or – even worse – maybe you have already lost. What’s going to happen next?
By winning its lawsuit, the credit card company is going to get a judgment against you and if you never responded to the lawsuit it will be a default judgment. A creditor will use the judgment to collect the debt you owe. Frequently they’ll use the judgment to garnish your wages.
A creditor that has a default judgment against you can file papers, also known as a Writ of Execution, with the court to have a portion of your paycheck taken away from you. Sorry for the bad news but a creditor can garnish up to 25% or your income after mandatory deductions. In some cases, creditors can garnish even more than 25% of your income (if a debtor earns more than 40 times minimum wage greater garnishment is permitted.) Bottom line, wage garnishment is going to cause you problems but there are solutions.
What can you do?
Bankruptcy can be a powerful tool to stop wage garnishment and even better bankruptcy will usually wipe out the underlying debt which caused the wage garnishment in the first place. In the case of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you can have most debts wiped out. And, in the case of a Chapter 13 plan, you can propose a 36-60 month payment plan that is often better than a wage garnishment.
Another possible solution is to file a claim of exemption and a financial statement with the Sheriff Department listed on Earnings Withholding Order. In order for wage garnishment to begin the creditor who holds a judgment against you is going to have to serve an Earnings Witholding Order packet on your employer. You can seek an exemption from the wage garnishment. You need to move quickly because you have 10 days after receiving notice from your employer to file the correct paperwork with the appropriate Sheriff’s office in order to prevent the garnishment from starting. If you missed the 10 day deadline, you can still file a Claim of Exemption but the wages already garnished won’t be returned. Even after filing the Claim of Exemption you still might face a fight if the creditor decides to oppose your claim of exemption.
Are your wages being garnished? If you live in San Joaquin County or somewhere close give me a call and I’ll do my best to help you out.