If you have recently received a wage garnishment, you may be looking for a quick way out. In some cases, people even attempt to finish paying off the owed debt early so that the wage garnishment can end. In short, YES, you can pay off your wage garnishment debt early. If you are able to, paying off your debt can stop the wage garnishment. Let’s take a closer look at what wage garnishment is and how you can get rid of it.
What is a Wage Garnishment?
Wage garnishment is when a creditor is granted the ability to take a portion of your wage. This is typically done in response to a delinquent credit account. If you have fallen severely behind on your debt repayment, creditors have the option to file a lawsuit against you. Should the court side with your creditor, they are then able to take up to 25% of your disposable income. If the missed payments come from child support or alimony, many states allow up to a 50% wage garnishment.
Wage garnishments can be brutal, especially if you are already drowning in debt or living paycheck to paycheck. So what can you do if your wage is being garnished? Let’s look more into how you can pay your debt off early to end your wage garnishment.
Ways You Can Pay a Wage Garnishment Off Early
If you find yourself having your wage garnished, there’s no question you’d want to be done with it as soon as possible. Believe it or not, you actually can stop the wage garnishment earlier than expected. Ultimately, to stop the wage garnishment, you have to pay off the debt you owed to your creditor. There are a few ways you can do this. The first option is to pay monthly amounts to your creditor above what is taken from your paycheck. So, if you are having $300 taken from your paycheck, you could also send in another $300 from each paycheck. If you do this, you can cut the time your wage is garnished in half.
The other way that you can pay off your debt is in one lump sum. If you have an emergency fund or savings account that you can pull from, it may be worth it to take out the total debt amount and pay off the creditor. These accounts are typically reserved for emergencies or rainy days — however, this could definitely be regarded as an emergency. Once the sum of the debt is paid off, creditors are no longer allowed to take money from your paycheck.
While these are the most straightforward ways to stop a wage garnishment, there are a few other options to consider.
Other Ways You Can Get Out of a Wage Garnishment
If you were in a stressful financial situation to begin with, you may not be able to pay one lump sum or larger payments to your creditor each month. Living paycheck to paycheck can make it impossible to stop your wage garnishment. There are, however, some other options that you could look into.
Take Out a Loan
If you still have the ability to get a loan, you could consider applying for one that covers your debt amount. Keep in mind that, with a loan will come an interest rate. This interest rate could cause you to pay up to hundreds of dollars more in the long run. Make sure to weigh the benefits and consequences of a higher but delayed payment versus a smaller but immediate payment from the garnishment.
If you are living paycheck to paycheck and need every dollar that comes from your wage, this might be a viable option. However, if the garnishment is more of an inconvenience and less of a threat, then consider riding out the garnishment until the debt is naturally paid off.
Borrow From a Family Member or Friend
If your credit history and debt is keeping you from being eligible for a loan, consider working with a close friend or family member. Again, this should only be considered if you are in a pretty dire situation. Keep in mind: you will still owe the total amount to someone. The nice thing about getting a loan from a family member or friend is that you typically don’t have an interest rate associated with the loan. If this is the route that you go, consider taking every dollar you don’t use each month to pay back the friend or family member. And only take this form of a loan if you are positive you will be able to pay the person back.
Work Out a Different Deal
Lawsuits occur because creditors want as much money back as possible with the smallest amount of effort. If you are unable to pay back the amount in full, the creditor may be willing to entertain the idea of a settlement. While creditors are typically most willing to consider a settlement before they have won their lawsuit, they may still see what you can offer.
Contest the Judgment
There are many different reasons why the court can reject a lawsuit. In order to win the lawsuit, your creditor must prove that the debt is actually yours. While this may not be an issue for the original creditor, if the debt has been sold to a debt collection agency, the paper trail may be more muddled. Because of this, there is a chance the debt collection agency cannot provide sufficient evidence that the debt is yours. If they can’t, the case will be dismissed. If you are willing to put up the fight (and potential cash for legal fees), then there is a chance you could successfully contest the lawsuit and stop the wage garnishment. This is also true after the ruling. You usually have around 5 business days to contest the ruling. Keep this in mind if you are hoping to stop a wage garnishment.
Nobody wants to be hindered by wage garnishment. However you do it, getting out from under garnishment is a relief. If you have questions about wage garnishment, reach out! Ascend would love to help you figure out your next steps.