How to Stop a Wage Garnishment
When a creditor obtains a judgment from a lawsuit, they may be able to garnish your wages. Typical collection law suits that lead to wage garnishments include defaulted credit cards, medical bills, pay day loans and/or personal loans. The law in California allows creditors to garnish 25% of your net income. However there are steps you can take to stop the wage garnishment in California
I. Speak with the Creditor and stopping a wage garnishment
Rather than having your wages garnished, the creditor may be open to a payment plan or a one time settlement. However, because the creditor is already receiving funds it may be hard to convince the creditor to make other arrangements.
2. File a Claim of Exemption and stopping a wage garnishment:
Stop a wage garnishment in California could be done by filing a claim of exemption form with the court. You may be able to have the wage garnishment stopped or reduced through a claim of exemption. You will have to demonstrate that the money being garnished is needed either for yourself or your family. Those needs must be basic necessities of life such as food and housing. The claim of exemption is filed with a financial statement explaining your income and expenses. The claim of exemption will allow you to either decrease the amount of the exemption or completely stop it.
Once the claim of exemption is filed, the creditor has the legal right to oppose the exemption. If the creditor does oppose, then a court hearing will be held in which you will have to prove that garnishing your wages will result in the inability for you to provide for yourself and your family.
3. Filing for Bankruptcy and stopping a wage garnishment:
Filing for Bankruptcy will stop a wage garnishment in California as soon as it is filed. When you file for bankruptcy, an automatic stay will be put in place. The automatic stay will legally prevent the wage garnishment from continuing. The sheriffs office will be informed of your bankruptcy and they will issue a release to your employer, this will stop the garnishment from continuing.
Also, you may be able to retrieve previous garnished wages that occurred 90 days before the bankruptcy filing, if those wages are equal to $600.00 or more. Another benefit to the bankruptcy is that all of your other debts will be discharged.