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Creditors in most states can garnish wages for a debt. However, most states require creditors to file a lawsuit and obtain a personal judgment before obtaining a wage garnishment order. However, some creditors do not need a wage garnishment order, including most government entities and family courts. If a creditor is garnishing your wages, monitoring your wage garnishment balance is a good idea.

Ways You Can Check Your Wage Garnishment Balance

First, review the Wage Garnishment Order or the original judgment order. Both documents contain the amount owed to the creditor. If you do not have a copy of the order to garnish wages, you should be able to obtain a copy from your employer’s payroll department or the clerk of court.

It is important to know the total amount the court ordered for the wage garnishment. Knowing the total amount helps determine how long it takes to satisfy the debt. It also lets you track your wage garnishment balance to ensure you do not overpay.

Ways to check a wage garnishment balance include:

Subtract the Amount Paid Shown on Your Paystub

Employers must include a breakdown of all deductions from an employee’s check. Therefore, locate the total wage garnishment amount paid to date on your pay stub. Then, subtract that amount from the original amount to determine your wage garnishment balance.

Check Wage Garnishment Balance Online

Some employers use a payroll service. If so, you might be able to check your wage garnishment balance online through the payroll service. Also, your employer might allow you to access your payroll information online. If so, the employer might provide an updated balance for the wage garnishment online. You should be able to obtain this information from your human resources or payroll department at work.

Ask the Creditor for the Balance Owed on a Wage Garnishment

If the creditor has a lawyer of record, the lawyer might track the payments for the wage garnishment. In some cases, a creditor may track the payments made on the debt. Check with the creditor and/or its attorney for the wage garnishment balance. If you believe the creditor did not apply some wage garnishment payments , ask for an updated report from the creditors detailing all payments received to date for the debt. Always send your request for an accounting in writing to the creditor and its attorney of record.

The laws regarding wage garnishment vary by state. Check the wage garnishment laws in your state using our convenient state wage garnishment chart.

Can I Stop a Wage Garnishment Before the Debt Is Paid in Full?

It could take years to pay off a debt through wage garnishment. Having some of your wages taken each pay period can severely limit your financial goals. Therefore, explore ways to stop wage garnishments now.

Wage garnishment relief options include:

Settle with the Creditor

Creditors want money. Most creditors prefer a smaller amount in a one-time lump sum payment instead of years of smaller payments. Also, there is the chance you could file for bankruptcy or qualify for an exemption that would stop the garnishments. If you have access to some cash, offer the creditor a one-time lump sum payment to fully satisfy the debt.

Apply for an Exemption

If you did not do this before, you could do it now. Many states protect a portion of your wages called exemptions. Check to ensure you are not paying more than you need to pay through wage garnishment. If your income decreases for any reason, your wages could be protected from wage garnishment, depending on your state’s exemption rules.

There could be other reasons to stop wage garnishment. Look at our example letter to stop wage garnishment for more help.

Discharge the Debt in Bankruptcy

If you have other debts you cannot pay, you might consider filing bankruptcy to stop wage garnishment. Creditors must stop garnishing wages when you file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The Bankruptcy Code’s automatic stay provisions stop creditors from continuing to collect a debt. The creditors must petition the court and obtain court approval to collect debts outside of the bankruptcy case.

If the debt is dischargeable in bankruptcy, the creditor should not be able to resume wage garnishments after you file for bankruptcy relief. Debts typically included in the bankruptcy discharge include, but are not limited to:

If you are unsure whether a debt is discharged in bankruptcy, take advantage of a free consultation with a bankruptcy lawyer. We can help you locate a bankruptcy attorney near you that offers free consultations.

Many debts are completely wiped away in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case. However, if you have too much income to file for Chapter 7, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a debt repayment plan supervised by the courts and a Chapter 13 trustee. Many people who file Chapter 13 pay a small percentage of their unsecured debts to get rid of the entire balance owed to creditors.

Use our free bankruptcy forum to find out if filing bankruptcy might be the best way for you to stop wage garnishment.

What Can I Do About My Debt Problems?

Trying to pay off debts you cannot afford to pay can be overwhelming. That is why many people ignore debt problems until they are sued and creditors begin garnishing their wages. If multiple creditors obtain wage garnishment orders, your wages could be garnished for the next five or ten years until all the debts are paid in full.

Before your debt problem results in wage garnishments, take control of your debt. You might be surprised to discover you have several debt relief options available to you. For some individuals, filing bankruptcy might be the best and quickest way to get rid of debts they cannot pay.

However, you might also want to explore debt settlement, debt payoff planning, debt management, and debt consolidation as ways to stop wage garnishments. Our free debt relief comparison calculator takes just a few minutes to complete.

You can receive free personalized advice about debt relief. At Ascend, our only goal is to help you explore the various debt relief options to find the best option for your situation.

If you have debts you cannot pay, call or text us at (833) 272-3631 or contact us online for a free case evaluation.

Post Author: Ascend

Group of guest writers and industry experts who have specific expertise in Chapter 13 bankruptcy, Chapter 7 bankruptcy, debt relief, debt settlement, and debt payoff.

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