Wage garnishment is exactly what it sounds like. It is an order that allows your employer to deduct a set amount of money from your wages in order to pay off a debt that you had. Even though there are limits on how much money can be garnished (the lesser of 25% of your disposable income or the amount by which your income exceeds 30 times the minimum wage), these limits do little to mitigate the frustration associated with having your wages garnished.
So today, let’s learn how a wage garnishment lawyer in Loveland can help you with your issue. We’ll see how a wage garnishment lawyer can help to prevent wage garnishment in the first place, we’ll look at how a wage garnishment lawyer can help you to stop your wage garnishment, and we’ll see how the legal system helps protect you from unlawful termination from bosses that don’t like dealing with your wage garnishment requirements.
How Can a Wage Garnishment Lawyer Help Prevent Wage Garnishment?
The best time to work with a wage garnishment lawyer is as soon as you receive the notice of the court-ordered garnishment. This means that as soon as you have been legally notified of it, you can start to fight against it. The first moment is the best moment for action.
Unfortunately, many people don’t right away and that’s totally understandable. Finding out that you’re about to be losing a portion of your income is a devastating feeling that can leave you feeling ungrounded and afraid for the future. If this has just happened to you and you’ve found this article, take a deep breath. There is a limit on how much money can be taken. Plus, you have options for fighting it now and can petition to lower or suspend it later if you don’t act quickly.
But prevention is the best way of dealing with wage garnishment. So when you get the notice from the court, you can raise an objection or file an exemption claim. Additionally, one of the best ways to avoid wage garnishment is often to file for bankruptcy. Filing will place an automatic stay order and this means that your creditors won’t be able to collect on the debt while the bankruptcy is being handled.
How Can an Attorney Help Stop My Wage Garnishment?
There are several ways in which you can get your wage garnishment stopped. You don’t need a lawyer for the most straightforward approach, but it’s also the one that people like the least: you could pay off the debt.
Of course, for many people this isn’t really an option. If you had no problem with paying off the debt, you wouldn’t have ended up getting your wage garnished. So that approach is plagued by pretty severe disadvantages.
Around the end of 2020, a new law took effect that allows you to petition the Colorado court. This petition, which a wage garnishment attorney could help you put together, can be to get the amount of wages being garnished lowered or to suspend the garnishment entirely until a later date.
However, this tactic would not eliminate the wage garnishment itself. If the amount garnished is lowered, then you would still have wages coming out of your next pay. You wouldn’t have money coming out of your next pay if it is suspended, but a suspension doesn’t eliminate the wage garnishment. It simply suspends it until a later date when it would commence again. So it is useful for getting through a rough patch but at its core it is a delaying tactic.
The best way for eliminating wage garnishment would be to file a bankruptcy like a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. As mentioned above, they would put an automatic stay into place so that creditors can’t continue garnishing your wages.
With a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you would be at risk of losing some assets or property. However, many people are able to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy without losing very much or even anything thanks to various bankruptcy exemptions built into the law.
With a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you would basically be restructuring your debts into a new payment plan. This could allow for you to no longer have your wages garnished, but you would be tied into paying a bi-weekly or monthly payment and missing this payment could have some negative consequences. So this doesn’t get rid of the need to pay off the debt, but it can allow you to consolidate your debts into a payment that is easier to deal with than the wage garnishment.
Will I Lose My Job Because of Wage Garnishment?
You cannot be fired because your wages are being garnished. There are both state and federal laws that protect you from this. If somebody does fire because of wage garnishment, or you suspect that the wage garnishment was the real reason, then there are steps you can take to get compensated.
But the laws that protect you are very clear. At the federal level, an employer is not allowed to terminate an employee if they have one wage garnishment. Now if they have two, this federal level protection no longer applies. But at the state level, Colorado law makes it clear that employers cannot fire employees for wage garnishment regardless of how many wage garnishments they have to deduct from a paycheck.
Other states don’t have this level of protection, so it’s one of those hidden benefits to living in Loveland.
How Do I Tell If a Wage Garnishment Lawyer is Any Good?
The best way to judge an attorney is to have a free consultation with them. While an important part is conveying the details of your situation to them, this is also your opportunity to see if the lawyer is any good.
So ask lots of questions!
Ask them if they’ve handled cases like yours before and what outcomes they got. Ask if they have any references or any past clients that will vouch for their work. Ask what approach they think is best and consider it carefully before agreeing. Any lawyer worth hiring will answer your questions and provide you with the information you need to go forward working with them.