If you are delinquent on credit card payments, child support, alimony, student loans, income taxes or fines, the creditor or government agency to which you owe money may move the court to have your wages garnished. If it is granted an order garnishing your wages, your employer will receive a copy of the order and money you owe will be taken directly from your paycheck. If your wages are being garnished, it is advisable to speak with a bankruptcy lawyer or other attorney familiar with taxation and debts, as there are several courses of action you can take to retain your wages.
Pay off your debts. Once you receive the notice that the creditor or agency intends to garnish your wages, you can stop the proceeding by paying off the debt in full. Frequently delinquent debtors are able to do this by taking out a debt consolidation loan or by liquidating assets.
Set up a payment plan. Your creditors may be willing to stop garnishing your wages if you set up a written repayment agreement and make an initial good-faith payment toward your debt at the time you agree to the payment plan.
File for bankruptcy. Creditors will stop garnishing your wages once you file a petition for bankruptcy relief and they are notified of the action, even before your bankruptcy is approved by the judge.
Show that your wages are being garnished improperly. If you get your income through Social Security or your retirement plan, the creditor may be garnishing illegally. If you prove this is the case, the creditor will be forced to stop garnishing your wages.
- The specific rules for wage garnishment vary by state.