Ignoring outstanding debt can take a massive bite out of your paycheck. As a measure of last resort, creditors garnish wages as they seek to recover what you owe. Garnishment can hit you where it hurts the most as it affects your ability to pay your other bills.

Most people don’t realize that you don’t have to file for bankruptcy to prevent wage garnishments in Salt Lake City. Regardless of the amount of money that you owe your creditors, you don’t have to resort such drastic measures. Here are some ways to keep a creditor from garnishing your wages:

Don’t Ignore the Correspondence

Before a creditor can obtain a judgment against you, they are legally required to send you a demand letter, which serves as a final warning before they can garnish your wages. The worst possible decision you can make on receiving such correspondence is to ignore it.

Contrary to popular opinion, most creditors prefer to work out voluntary payments from debtors than the longer route to garnishment. The process is expensive and involves time-consuming paperwork. By responding to the demand letter, you have a chance to negotiate a payment plan with your creditors and avoid wage garnishment.

Object to the Garnishment

If you don’t receive the correspondent or choose not to respond to it, then you’re likely to get a notice of garnishment from your employer. If you’re not okay with the garnishment, you can file a written objection for the court and request a hearing.

Legally, a creditor can’t take more than 25 percent of your disposable earnings. If you’re paying alimony or child support, only 50 or 60 percent of your disposable income is up for garnishment. Also, if a creditor fails to give you sufficient notice, you have grounds to have the court terminate the garnishment order.

Attend the Hearing

Judge talkling with a businessman

It will be a waste of time if you file an objection but then fail to turn up for the hearing. If that happens, the judge will likely overrule your objections, putting the garnishment in effect. You should note that the trial doesn’t guarantee that the judge will uphold our complaints. Depending on the individual circumstances, the court can deny your objection. However, you can take the opportunity to meet with the creditor and try to work out a payment plan that works in your favor.

Challenge the Judgment

If you have grounds to dispute the court’s decision, then you should ask a sharp, legal mind to help you appeal the ruling. You might not get a chance to air your grievances during the garnishment hearing, so you need to file a separate motion and have a different trial. You have a narrow window to pursue this remedy. Therefore, you should do it quickly.

If life forces you to accumulate lots of debt from creditors, they shouldn’t just resort to garnishing your wages to get their money. Many people often resort to filing for bankruptcy to avoid wage garnishment. While that might work, there are other effective methods to help you out of this tight spot.

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