Garnishments Are Intrusive
Summary: Garnishments are Intrusive... It's 6:30 in the A.M. and there is a loud knock at your door. Naturally you are alarmed so you proceed to answer the knock with caution. You see from your window, a uniformed sheriff with papers in his or her hands. You have no idea what the visit is all about...but you maintain composure and open the door. "You have been served"... is all you hear. The sheriff walks off and you're left alone to read the disturbing news that you are being sued. I can't tell you how many weekly calls we receive from consumers who phone to say they are being or about to be garnished. They are in panic mode because they understand the ramifications of having less money in your paycheck.
No entity can arbitrarily take money from your paycheck. Wage garnishment (the legal terminology) happens when a court orders your employer to withhold a specific portion of your paycheck and send it directly to the creditor or person to whom you owe money, until your debt is paid.
Before the Court's order, the creditor must obtain a judgment, either summary (proven on its face) or consent (you agree to owing the debt). The process includes the filing of a complaint (or summons) with the Magistrate Court of the last known county resided by you, the debtor. You are served; and have 30 days from the date of service to respond. Upon the filing of your response, the court will schedule a hearing which is typically out 30 to 60 days.
Once the judgment is entered, the creditor has several options for collecting what is owed-including court and legal fees. Collection methods may be garnishment, placing a lien against any real property you may have, or seizing funds in your bank account. In some instances, the creditor may seize your income tax refund.
Often, consumers state they were not properly served. Well, that's neither here nor there. Due diligence in the search overrides that defense every time. The most important thing to remember is if you are served or are aware of your being sued, DON'T ignore it. To do so makes matters worse.
If garnishment is intruding your ability to meet your financial obligations,
Call the Rainford Law Firm, P.C., We are a Debt Relief Agency.
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