Garnishments and Levies

Creditors, debt buyers, and debt collectors have various ways to enforce judgments.

To enforce or collect a judgment, a creditor can garnish wages, levy bank accounts, and file liens on assets. A creditor can garnish your wages, levy your bank account, and file a lien on your home all at the same time. However, the creditor can only collect the judgment amount once.

We can help you prevent that from happening.

Fighting a Wage Garnishment

In general, you have two options to fight a wage garnishment.

The first option is to fight the garnishment in the state court that issued the judgment. This process involves filing exemptions provided under state law. In many jurisdictions, exemptions are filed with the levying officer, typically the sheriff. If you stop the garnishment by filing exemptions, the creditor can garnish your wages again at a later date.

The second option is to file bankruptcy in federal court. If you file bankruptcy, you may be able to (1) stop the garnishment, (2) get back some or all of the funds already taken from you in a garnishment, and (3) discharge the underlying debt and judgment, so you don’t face another garnishment in the future. However, getting back previously garnished funds is time sensitive, so you want to contact an attorney as soon as the garnishment starts. When you get back previously garnished funds, the bankruptcy often more than pays for itself.

If you have more than one debt, the most cost effective strategy may be filing bankruptcy. A bankruptcy usually discharges the judgment debt for good, and bankruptcy often discharges most or all of your other debts as well.

Schedule a Free Consultation

To schedule a free consultation with Karen Ware, call 805-284-0760 or 818-668-9019 or use our online scheduling tool.