Owing a significant amount of debt can lead to stress and complications in various areas of your life. One common result of falling behind on your payments is that creditors and debt collectors will work diligently to try to collect on these past-due balances. One way they often do this is through wage garnishment.

Wage garnishment happens when a creditor gets a court order to have your California employer withhold a portion of your wages. This amount will go toward the repayment of your debts. Learning that you are subject to wage garnishment can be devastating, especially if you are already facing a difficult financial situation. You may want to learn more about what this process entails, what to expect and how you may be able to make it stop.

What is going to happen? 

If you are behind on various types of consumer debt, you could be subject to wage garnishment. Once this process is underway, it will continue until you’ve paid off the debt or there is another resolution. There are limits to how much your employer can withhold though, and the amount depends on what type of debt it is and what your income is. 

Even if you are behind on your payments, you have rights. Creditors can only do certain things, and you may find it beneficial to know your rights regarding wage garnishment and what you can do to protect your interests. Consider the following:

  • You will receive notice of wage garnishment before the process begins.
  • Some sources of income, such as Social Security benefits, are not eligible for garnishment.
  • You have the right to file a dispute if the garnishment is an error.
  • If you have just one wage garnishment, your employer cannot fire you.

When you receive notice of garnishment, there are a few things you can do at this point. You can dispute it, if you believe you have grounds to do so. You can accept it and adjust your finances accordingly. You can file for bankruptcy, which will halt all collections practices through the automatic stay, including the garnishment process.

Is bankruptcy right for you? 

Filing for bankruptcy is not the ideal choice in every situation, but it may be a prudent course of action for you. This process allows eligible individuals to deal with their debt in an organized manner while enjoying protection from creditor harassment and collection efforts.

A complete evaluation of your case and assessment of the legal options available will help you understand if this is right for your unique financial situation. If so, this will allow you to halt wage garnishment and retain your entire paycheck.