Using Bankruptcy to Stop Wage Garnishment in NJ
Don’t let your creditors rob you of your freedom
When you’re in debt, you have a legal obligation to repay your creditors, and they have the legal right to pursue payment. Depending on the amount you owe and the nature of your particular creditors, you could face very aggressive collection tactics, which can include lawsuits followed by seizures of assets and even wage garnishment. At the Law Offices of James C. Zimmermann, we believe you should be in charge of your assets, and you should determine how to schedule repayments or discharge your debt through bankruptcy. We can help you put an end to aggressive collection tactics, including wage garnishment, even if the debt you owe is not dischargeable through bankruptcy. If you are in the vicinity of Vernon, Wayne, Nutley, Pompton Lakes, and Hackensack, and you want to take back control over your earnings and your life, I’m ready to provide the personalized counsel you need to choose the best course forward.
Protect yourself from aggressive collection practices
When you owe money, a creditor has the option at some point to sue for payment. When the creditor gets a court judgment for the amount you owe, he can then request enforcement action from the court. These actions can include:
- Seizure of bank assets — Creditors can seize up to 25 percent of the balance.
- Liens on real estate — A lien prevents you from selling the property without sharing the proceeds with the judgment creditor. A judgment creditor can later execute the lien, forcing a sale of your property for purposes of repayment.
- Levies on personal property — A judgment creditor can have valuable property seized to satisfy the debt.
- Wage garnishments — A court can order that up to 25 percent of your net earnings (or the amount by which your earnings exceed 30 times the federal minimum wage, whichever is less) go to the judgment creditor until the debt is satisfied.
All of these actions are troubling, but wage garnishment is particularly troubling, because you lose the flexibility to choose which debts to repay first, and your ability to manage your finances is sorely diminished.
How bankruptcy can stop wage garnishment
Bankruptcy is a powerful tool for getting relief from aggressive collection tactics. When you file Chapter 7, Chapter 11, or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you get an automatic stay, a court order prohibiting your creditors from attempting to collect on your debts. That means no more harassing phone calls and, importantly, no legal actions. Lawsuits can’t go forward, nor can judgment enforcement actions.
But what if the debt is not dischargeable in bankruptcy? You might owe:
- Back taxes
- Child support
- Student loans
Child support and taxes are particularly important, because the law allows higher percentages of your wages to be garnished. In some cases, you could lose half your paycheck.
In most cases, even after bankruptcy, you’ll still have to repay these debts. But during your bankruptcy proceeding, you still get the benefit of the automatic stay. You can’t get hit with a wage garnishment during bankruptcy. After bankruptcy, you’ll likely have more disposable income, so you will be freer to work out a repayment plan that could avoid garnishment altogether.
Contact our dedicated bankruptcy attorney to defeat wage garnishment in New Jersey
The Law Offices of James C. Zimmermann assists New Jersey residents with the Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy process, so they can avoid aggressive collection tactics such as wage garnishment. To take your first steps toward debt relief, call 973-764-1633 or contact us online for a free initial consultation. We have five North Jersey offices to serve you, located in Vernon, Wayne, Pompton Lakes, Hackensack and Nutley.