Have your wages been garnished? Have you been threatened with wage garnishment? Are you worried that your wages may be garnished? Want to know how to stop wage garnishment?
In general, in New York, with the exception of collections on student loans, your wages cannot be garnished until the creditor who alleges you owe money has a judgment against you. Unfortunately, we find it is often the case that a consumer knows nothing about any litigation against her until one day she learns that her wages have been garnished. Then, she goes to the HR department and is told that someone has sued her, gotten a default judgment against her, and her wages have been garnished. We see this over and over.
If you are worried that your wages may be garnished
Perhaps a creditor threatened to garnish your wages. Maybe you have received papers from a marshal or sheriff, or perhaps your employer, saying your wages are about to be garnished.
If you are worried that your wages may be garnished, you should talk to a lawyer right away, because once your wages are garnished, the creditor has the upper hand when it comes to negotiating any type of settlement.
A lawyer will help you determine if you have been sued, and whether the lawsuit resulted in a default judgment against you. Without a judgment, there can be no wage garnishment. You should be aware, however, that if you have been sued, even if there is no judgment, you must respond to the lawsuit, in writing, with the court. If you do not respond, the creditor wins, and then they have a default judgment against you. With that default judgment, the creditor then has the right to garnish your wages.
If you have been sued, and garnishment proceedings have been implemented, a good debt defense and credit damage law firm can help you.
Next week, your wages have been garnished – what next?
Meanwhile, for quick answers to your wage garnishment questions, visit New York’s Community Economic Justice Resource Center here.