Wage Garnishment Lawyer in Queens
Is a lender or debt collector taking payments directly out of your paycheck? This is called wage garnishment, an enormously frustrating type of debt collection. You deserve to have full control over the money you earn, and wage garnishment can interfere with your ability to pay other bills and support your family.
While wage garnishment is perfectly legal, you have several methods of defense at your disposal. With the Law Office of Seni Popat, P.C. on your side, you our bankruptcy lawyer in Queens can give you the highest possible likelihood of ending wage garnishment and obtaining relief from crushing debt. After determining which defense strategy will be most effective in your situation, we can help you advocate for your rights and regain full control over your hard-earned income.
How Does Wage Garnishment Work?
Once you miss payments on your mortgage, vehicle loan, medical bills, or other forms of debt, your lender or creditor will begin to contact you regularly or simply sell your debt to a collection agency. If, at that point, you still do not provide the money they’ve requested, either the original creditor or the debt collector may take you to court.
If a creditor or agency takes you to court, they may obtain a judgment against you that allows them to garnish your wages or even freeze your bank account. Once this occurs, the creditor or agency is entitled to a portion of every paycheck until the debt has been paid in full.
Certain types of debt, however, do not require a lawsuit to take place before wage garnishment. If you owe taxes, for example, the federal government can resort to any type of collection tactic without taking you to court first.
How to Prevent Wage Garnishment
If you are struggling with debt, you can take several steps to prevent or simply delay wage garnishment, including:
- Requesting debt validation (i.e. asking a creditor to prove that you owe the debt)
- Negotiating with creditors (e.g. setting up a payment plan, lowering the principal or interest rate, extending the terms, etc.)
- Taking collectors to court for creditor harassment (potentially obtaining compensation, which can cover what you owe)
- Filing bankruptcy (which triggers an automatic stay, prohibiting creditors from attempting to collect debt)
- Defending yourself in court (which prevents the collector from obtaining a judgment by default)
How To Stop Wage Garnishment In New York
You may be able to stop your payroll wages or your bank account from being garnished if you pay off your debt completely, file an objection with the court, or file for bankruptcy. If you cannot pay off the debt in full, then you can consider consolidating the debt with another loan may be an option. This will not stop the debt, however, it will allow you to pay everything that you owe through a new loan, reducing the number of creditors that you have.
If a creditor or debt collector has already obtained a judgment against you and begun to garnish your wages, below are other options to stop it:
- Contesting the garnishment. If the debt does not belong to you or you do not believe that the garnishment is valid, you may challenge it. You will need to prove that the garnishment causes “undue harm” or was based on false information. File your claim ASAP because you only have a few days to do it.
- Negotiating a payment plan. You are less likely to succeed with this strategy once the creditor or agency has already obtained a judgment against you, but it is still possible. In some cases, when your wages are being garnished for debt, you are dealing with a debt collection agency instead of the original lender. Contact them and see if you can work something out that does not involve a garnishment, such as paying in installments or modifying the repayment plan.
- Settle the debt for less than what you owe. Usually, you will need to be able to pay the amount that is settled upon in a lump sum. Be sure to work with an experienced debt settlement attorney at Law Office of Seni Popat, P.C. to ensure that your credit score is protected.
- File a claim of exemption. If this applies to your situation, then this may stop the garnishment or at the very least, reduce it. You may claim that some or all of your income is exempt from the garnishment -- for example, if another order is already garnishing your wages, then the impact of another one may reduce your payments. If the garnishment will affect your ability to pay for necessary expenses (rent, food, utilities, etc.) or provide for your dependents, then you may file a claim as long as you are able to prove this.
- If the garnishment was started because the creditor got a default judgment against you and you have proof showing why you could not respond to the debt collection lawsuit, then you may file an order to show cause. This is technically an “emergency motion” which asks the court to remove the judgment. Some acceptable grounds for not answering the lawsuit are: you did not receive it, you were out of town and did not receive it, or you were ill and could not respond.
- Filing bankruptcy. Bankruptcy prevents creditors from both initiating and continuing collection actions. If you file, the automatic stay will halt the wage garnishment process, giving you access to your income while you proceed with the case.
Need to fight a New York wage garnishment? Get in touch with a skilled wage garnishment attorney near you at Law Office of Seni Popat, P.C.. Call (718) 340-3385 for a free initial consultation.
Take Action Today to Protect Your Income Tomorrow
If you are suffering from this drastic form of debt collection, you aren’t alone. Wage garnishment is more common than many would believe. In fact, roughly 4 million U.S. employees had their wages garnished in 2013. At the Law Office of Seni Popat, P.C., our bankruptcy attorney in Queens is committed to helping individuals and families overcome this type of financial crisis. Whether we guide you through the bankruptcy process or employ another defense against wage garnishment, you can trust us to work tirelessly on your behalf.
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