Wage garnishments occur when a person does not keep up with regular payments on outstanding debt. The best way to prevent creditors from garnishing wages is to speak with them to create payment arrangements. In most cases, making regular payments according to an agreement with the creditor can stop an existing wage garnishment or prevent garnishments in the future.
Garnishments cannot exceed 25 percent of the person’s pay after all taxes unless the amount is being garnished for taxes or child support. Some consumers may qualify for an exemption because the garnishment causes a hardship. The local courthouse may have a Claim of Exemption form, and the consumer might bring proof of income and expenses to show a judge how the garnishment is creating hardship.
If making payments is not possible and the consumer does not qualify for an exemption, bankruptcy might be another way to stop a wage garnishment. This does not stop garnishments due to delinquent tax or child support obligations, however. After filing for a bankruptcy, the consumer may need to send proof of filing and a copy of the Earnings Withholding Order that an employer might have on file. The employer must receive a notice from the county sheriff before it stops garnishing wages, which can take months in some cases.
Consumers facing a wage garnishment may want to consult an attorney to find out about all of the available options to stop it. An attorney who handles bankruptcies and debt settlements could help the person understand why the county issued the garnishment and what steps may be taken to stop it. In many cases, a settlement agreement between the creditor and consumer could completely resolve the issue by payment of a certain portion of the amount due.
Source: Houston Chronicle , “How to Protect Yourself From Wages Being Garnished From Your Check“, Laura Agadoni, October 29, 2014