One of the most common strategies debt collection agencies and creditors use to recoup some of their lost money is by getting a wage garnishment on the borrowers that owe them. While this is an effective tactic for them, it can spell disaster if you don’t have room in your budget to spare an extra expense. In the article today, we will look at how you can write a letter to stop wage garnishment and the reasons why you might have to object to the decision.
Before we get started, however, it’s important to note that this is NOT legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney.
To get a wage garnishment granted, your creditor — or the debt collection agency that your creditor sold your debt to — will have to file a lawsuit against you. One of the possible outcomes of a debt lawsuit is wage garnishment. If a wage garnishment was granted against you, then your employer is going to begin directly taking out a portion of your paycheck and sending it to your creditor or collection agency. While this is how wage garnishment works, there is still a way that you can object to the wage garnishment after it has been granted. Here are a few of the reasons that you could object to the wage garnishment:
Fortunately, there is a maximum that creditors and collection agencies can garnish from your paycheck. According to federal law, a creditor can only garnish the lesser of the following two options: 25% of your disposable income earnings OR your disposable earnings minus 30 times the federal minimum wage.
If you realize that too much of your wage is being garnished, you have the right to object to the garnishment in full. While the garnishment may not be canceled outright, it might be amended to better reflect the limitations of the federal law.
Do you know how much you should be garnished per state guidelines? If a letter does not help, how do you stop the wage garnishment?
We used your state guidelines to create the free calculator below to estimate whether you are being garnished too much and what options you have to stop it.
Sometimes, you can work out a deal with your creditor while a lawsuit is still active. If you were able to settle outside of court with your creditor, but they did not pull the lawsuit in time, you may have a judgment against you that didn’t consider the outside deal. If this is the case, and you have already paid — or already have a plan in place to pay — your debt, then you have grounds to object to the garnishment.
There are instances when a creditor or collector fails to follow proper protocol when attempting to collect on a debt. Whether this occurs before or after the judgment, you might have the ability to object to the judgment. Keep track of the actions of the creditor/collector so you can present it to the court when you attempt to object to the garnishment.
If there was a mishandling of the hearing, then you might have grounds to object to the judgment. For example, if you were not properly served with the lawsuit stating when and where the hearing would occur, it is very likely that you missed the hearing entirely. This would often result in an automatic judgment against you, which would grant the creditor or collector the wage garnishment. If you can prove that you were not properly served, it is likely that the case will be reopened.
There are many different types of hardships when it comes to an inability to pay a debt. Financial hardships, medical hardships and more can impact your ability to make regular payments. If you are facing a hardship, consider telling the court your situation so they can consider this in their decision. If it is after a judgment, you might be able to object to the garnishment.
Regardless of why you are sending a letter to stop wage garnishment, the way you object will be similar. In most cases, you will send a letter to the court explaining what you want and why you think it should be granted to you. This is an important step in requesting your wage garnishment to stop. So make sure you take your time and make it look and sound professional. Here are a few things to include in your letter to stop wage garnishment.
Next, you will want to introduce yourself and your background information. Include your name and reason for writing. It might sound something like this:
My name is John Doe. I am writing in regard to the wage garnishment that was granted against me on XX/XX/XXXX.
In this section, consider laying out exactly what was granted to your creditor or collector. For instance, it might look like this:
In order to repay an owed debt of $X,XXX, my employer has been ordered to withhold $XXX of each paycheck I receive and send it to ‘Debt Collection Agency’. This is XX% of my weekly paycheck.
In this section, lay out your reason for requesting the wage garnishment be stopped. Whether you believe too much is being withheld, or you are currently unable to afford a garnishment, be specific and thorough in your explanation. Do not expect the judge or administrator to connect the dots on their own. This might look like the following:
Unfortunately, my wife has been in the hospital for the past 6 months with a debilitating illness. While I have been able to continue working some, my hours have drastically decreased, and she has stopped working entirely. This has made our financial situation precarious. With her excessive medical expenses, along with her loss of income, we are only barely able to pay for our basic necessities. This does not leave room for any other kind of payment to any owed debt.
Once you have set the stage for your reason for objecting, move on to your official request. Again, you don’t want to depend on anyone else to figure out what you want. Be direct and thorough with your request. Here is an example:
Because of this situation, I ask you to please consider delaying the wage garnishment until my wife is out of the hospital and able to work once again. I predict this should take another 6 months. Would you please consider delaying the wage garnishment until XX/XX/XXXX?
Wrap up your request and thank the reader for their time and consideration. Something like this:
Delaying the wage garnishment would allow us to be more able to pay back ‘Debt Collection Agency’ and will stop us from needing to file bankruptcy while my wife recovers in the hospital. I appreciate your thoughtful time and consideration.
As you would with any letter, respectfully sign off.
You are looking for an example letter to stop wage garnishment, so hopefully this letter will help you in your quest.
While this is not a 100% effective method, it should at least get your foot in the door to open up other conversations. Another option you have is to send this to your creditor or debt collector instead of to the judge. This might open up conversations about debt settlement, a different payment plan, or even a deferment of payments. Whatever you decide to do, remember to be respectful and polite, but also firm and direct. And finally, if you just want to talk to someone about what your options are, give our team a call. We'd love to help you figure out your options and next steps.