What Debtors in Alabama Need to Know
What is Wage Garnishment?
Wage garnishment is the practice of withholding collection payments from a debtor’s paycheck via court order. This typically occurs as the result of being sued for nonpayment.
Garnishment is inconvenient, embarrassing, and potentially damaging to your professional reputation, as the process alerts your employer to your substantial debts while also reducing your net pay as much as 25%. That means wage garnishment can quickly turn into your family living hand-to-mouth, even if you have a reasonably strong salary.
Here’s the good news for Alabamians, though: our state laws are pretty complex when it comes to wage garnishment, and that means that, with an attorney who specializes in debt and bankruptcy, you can reduce or eliminate the weight of garnished wages and salvage your short- and long-term financial picture.
How Can You Recover Money from Garnished Wages?
Here in Alabama, it’s always worthwhile to have an attorney review your wage garnishment. If your creditors completed any of their paperwork incorrectly, you can be released from the agreement and repaid what they’ve already collected, in some situations.
Furthermore, if you feel the garnishment of your wages is excessive and can demonstrate that more than 25% of your disposable earnings (or 30 times minimum wage, whichever is less) is being seized, you can bring in a lawyer to negotiate an adjustment and recover the money you over-paid.
If you’ve filed for bankruptcy, you can also recover the funds that have been garnished from your wages, but only those paid in the 90-day window immediately before your declaration.
How Can You Stop Wage Garnishment?
Creditors garnish wages to guarantee payment, but if you can convince them that there’s another way to repay your debt that’s mutually beneficial, they may release you from garnishment.
Don’t just call your creditors without a plan in mind, though! It’s important to come to the negotiating table with a fully articulated payment strategy and an explanation of why it is better for everyone. Of course, whether or not your creditors agree to your plan (or make a counteroffer) will be strongly influenced by your financial wherewithal and your existing history/relationship with them.
If you need to call in a professional negotiator to eliminate or reduce your wage garnishment, contact one of Pleva Law Offices’ debt experts today!
File for Bankruptcy
The moment you file for bankruptcy, a court-ordered stay will end your wage garnishment, unless it is related to child support or alimony payments. With that said, bankruptcy is a major life-changing decision that shouldn’t be entered into without careful consideration.
The nature of your bankruptcy filing will affect your long-term commitments. For example, if you file Chapter 13, your debts will be rolled into a single three-to-five-year obligation, which means you still must pay, but you can do so while budgeting your own finances more directly. On the other hand, a Chapter 7 filing will completely eliminate your debt but result in the seizure and sale of all your assets.
Get an Alabama Wage Garnishment Attorney on Your Side!
If creditors are taking money out of your pocket and food off your family’s table, you need an attorney who knows bankruptcy, debt collection, and Alabama state law like the back of their hand.