Hi there this is Jonathan Ginsberg, I’d like
to talk to you today about how to stop a wage garnishment. A wage garnishment,
if you’re not aware of it is when a creditor has a judgment against
you, that creditor can take that judgment to the sheriff of the county where
the judgment was issued, get something called a FiFa, and then go to your
employer with that FiFa and say, “Withhold 25 percent of this person’s
paycheck and send it to me.” So it’s a very powerful tool in the hands of
creditors and judgment creditors. And if it happens you need to move very quickly
otherwise you stand to lose a chunk of your paycheck. Now let’s first talk about what a judgment
is, and basically a judgment is when a creditor has filed a law suit against
you, and either you have ignored the law suit, you didn’t answer it,
or you did answer it and the judge in the courtroom said I think you owe
the money. And a legal judgment has been issued. And that judgment again is
a very powerful tool in the hands of a creditor, because they can use
it to go after bank accounts, they can use it to go after property, cash,
wages and so forth. Now one thing I do here sometimes is, some people
say, well you know, I never got sued, I don’t remember getting sued. And my
response to that is, first of all make sure that your 14-year-old didn’t
get this piece of paper and stick it in a drawer somewhere, that happens.
Or that your spouse got it and didn’t know what to do with it. Sometimes
you don’t remember getting sued and in fact you did get sued. Another
time it could be where the creditor filed suit against you at the wrong
address, an adult answered the door, the sheriff’s deputy handed this adult
some papers. The person didn’t know who you were, didn’t know anything about
it, threw them away, and as far as anybody’s concerned, you got served.
And of course that’s not appropriate and you’ll have to go to the state
court, the clerk’s office, and look to see where that you were quote
unquote, served, and who served you, and so forth, and what happened. Now
if you were served at an address you didn’t live at you would have grounds
to do what is called a collateral attack on that judgment and get it undone.
That’s a little beyond the scope of this video, but suffice it to say, if you
got served at an address you did not live at, you were not personally served,
you would have grounds to collaterally attack the judgment and get it
undone. But let’s assume that the judgment was issued,
there’s a default or a judgment by the court, either a judge or a
jury. And now the creditor is a judgment creditor and has gone to the sheriff
and has filed his FiFa and has taken it to your employer. Well ,your
employer gets these papers that say, Notice Of Summons Of Continuing Garnishment.
Now from the employers perspective they have to deal with that, because
if the employer does not withhold funds, the employer becomes fully
responsible for the whole judgment. So if you owe a credit card company
$10,000, they sue you and get a judgment, the judgment creditors attorney,
the collection lawyer, goes to your employer and says, here’s my judgment
go ahead and garnish this person’s wages. The employer says, yeah well
I kind of like him I’m not going to do that. Now the employer owes the
$10,000. Obviously not too many employers want to deal with that, so they
know, and their payroll company knows they need to actually honor that judgment
and withhold the funds. So your employer’s not withholding funds, what
can you do? Well as mentioned before you can challenge the underlying judgment,
a collateral attack on the judgment, that’s going to take an attorney,
it’s going to take money, it’s going to take some time. The other option
is to file a bankruptcy, and if you file bankruptcy, either Chapter Seven
or Chapter 13, the automatic stay goes into force. The automatic stay stops
all creditor action, and it gives you time to figure out what to do. If
the funds have already been withheld, and disbursed, you may be able to
get them back, you may be able to get them applied to other debts like tax
debts, things like that. And again we can talk about what happens to that
money, but future money will certainly not be withheld by virtue of that
garnishment. So if you get wind that there is a garnishment
coming, what you need to do is pick up the phone, call me, call a bankruptcy
attorney and say I need some help, I need some advise, what do I do.
And let’s talk about the various options to determine what makes the
most sense for you. I’m happy to chat with you about all of your options,
both bankruptcy and non bankruptcy, again my name is Jonathan Ginsberg,
my office number is 770-393- 49845, and if I can help you I’m happy to
do so. Thanks very much.