Wage Garnishment Attorney: 5 Reasons to Hire a Skilled Professional
8 MIN READ
Published September 29, 2023 | Updated October 27, 2023
If you owe money to a lender, they may be able to get a court order to recover it through wage garnishment. With a portion of your wages garnished, you’ll have little left to cover your other bills. A wage garnishment lawyer may be able to stop this from happening. They have several tools that can help you deal with a wage garnishment order. But before you hire a lawyer, it’s important to do your research and ensure you’re hiring an experienced professional who has specialized knowledge in this field.
What Is Wage Garnishment?
Wage garnishment is a court process that allows a lender to collect a portion of your wages to recover the debt you owe. There are two main types of garnishments- garnishments for judgments and administrative garnishments.
If you’re sued by a debt collector, and they win the case, they can garnish your wages to pay the judgment. In some cases, a lender can garnish your wages even without a judgment. This is known as administrative wage garnishment and is usually used for back taxes and federal student loan debt.
“One way to prevent a wage garnishment is to communicate with your creditor prior to this happening,” shares Teresa Dodson, debt expert and founder of Greenbacks Consulting.
In most cases, you can negotiate terms on repayment before it ever comes to that. If a garnishment is already in place an attorney could be the best solution,” says Dodson.
What Does a Wage Garnishment Attorney Do?
If you’ve received a wage garnishment order, one of the most important things to do is to consult a wage garnishment attorney. A lawyer can educate you about your options and rights. They have an understanding of complex legal issues and can help you navigate the legal systems. They can also help you object to the order and can represent you in court if you believe that the order is not valid. They are familiar with exemptions and can help you determine ways to reduce the garnishment amount.
A wage garnishment attorney can also facilitate negotiations with your lenders so you can agree to a payment plan that works for both parties. This can help you pay off the debt in question and avoid garnishment.
What To Look for in a Wage Garnishment Attorney
When hiring an attorney for wage garnishment, it’s important to look beyond their knowledge and consider their ability to communicate efficiently. A good attorney should be able to make you feel comfortable and answer any questions you may have without hesitation. Look for someone who has a professional attitude and good communication skills.
When selecting a wage garnishment attorney, experience is a key factor. Ask them how long they’ve practiced and how many wage garnishment cases they’ve handled. Each jurisdiction has unique complexities and regulations around wage garnishment. This is where local expertise comes in. Any attorney you choose must have solid local expertise.
5 Reasons To Consider Hiring an Attorney
If you’re struggling to pay bills and are dealing with debt collector calls, the last thing you need is wage garnishment. Fortunately, a competent wage garnishment attorney can help you. Here are five reasons why you should consider hiring an attorney.
1. Legal Guidance
An attorney can provide you with legal guidance based on your individual circumstances. In some cases, it may be possible to challenge the order, and an attorney can help you contest the validity of the order in court. They can help you understand the process, your rights, and responsibilities so you can make an informed decision about how to handle the situation.
The amount of money a creditor can take from your wages varies based on state and federal regulations. How much of your wages can be garnished will depend on the amount of money you earn and other factors. An attorney can help ensure that the order doesn’t exceed this boundary. They can help you reduce the withholding amount from the paycheck. They can also provide you with legal guidance about the bankruptcy process if that is an option worth exploring.
2. Specialization in Wage Garnishment
Wage garnishment attorneys specialize in this field. They have years of experience handling cases related to wage garnishments. This specialization helps them develop important skills such as helping you avoid wage garnishment, representing you in court, negotiating settlements, and protecting your rights. They use their knowledge and experience to advise you about the best course of action based on your unique circumstances.
In some cases, an attorney can help you request an exemption. They can help you determine if your income is exempt. If your income from child support, alimony, retirement, disability, or Social Security, it’s exempt from garnishment. If there’s already a garnishment on your wages for another debt, you may be able to request that the court reduce the amount of garnishment. A wage garnishment attorney can file all the paperwork and send the formal requests on your behalf.
3. Stop or Prevent Wage Garnishment
One of the most important reasons why you should consider hiring a wage garnishment attorney is because they may be able to prevent or stop wage garnishment. If a lender sues you for defaulting, a lawyer can defend your case. They can use exemptions when available to stop garnishment on that income.
Your lawyer can also help you eliminate or reduce the amount you owe if you lose in court. They’ll be able to spot violations of statutes of limitations and ensure that your lenders follow the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
4. Negotiate a Wage Garnishment Settlement
Lenders are often willing to negotiate a debt settlement or a payment plan, especially when they think you’ll file for bankruptcy. You may be able to avoid wage garnishment if you enter a payment plan or settle the debt voluntarily. Hiring a lawyer makes this process of debt mediation faster and easier. An attorney has strong negotiation skills and can negotiate on your behalf to get you the best deal that ends the garnishment and works for your budget.
5. Representation in Court
If you believe there was an error in the court’s garnishment order, an attorney can represent you in court to fight it. Wage garnishment attorneys are familiar with federal and state laws surrounding debt collection and wage garnishment. They can review the details of the case and determine if the court judgment has been obtained correctly or if the lender violated any important federal laws like the Consumer Credit Protection Act. If you don’t think you owe the debt, your attorney can help you get the evidence to prove it in court and ensure that procedural requirements are followed.
How To Find a Wage Garnishment Attorney
If you’re facing legal issues such as wage garnishment, there are many ways to find the right attorney to help you navigate the situation. Contact your local bar association, ask family or friends for referrals, or search online to find a lawyer near you.
Shortlist at least three attorneys by visiting their websites, checking their credentials, and reading online reviews. Most attorneys offer free consultation, so book an appointment to meet with them for your case evaluation. Bring relevant documents to the consultation, such as any court correspondence. Ask questions about their services, their thoughts about your case, their strategy, and fee structure so you can find an attorney that suits your needs. Anything you discuss at the law office will be confidential because of the attorney-client relationship.
Should I Get a Wage Garnishment Attorney?
Whether you should hire a wage garnishment attorney will depend on many factors. But it can be useful in the following scenarios:
- You have paid the debt in question.
- The debt in question doesn’t belong to you.
- You are considering filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
- Your employer is threatening to fire you due to wage garnishment.
- You’re willing to negotiate a settlement.
- You believe the lender is garnishing too much.
The Bottom Line on Wage Garnishment Attorneys
If a lender is threatening wage garnishment, you need legal help. An experienced wage garnishment attorney or a bankruptcy attorney can help you explore and determine if you may be able to eliminate or reduce wage garnishment. A law firm can also help you explore debt relief options so you can avoid garnishment. The sooner you get legal advice, the quicker the burden of garnishment may be lifted from your shoulders.