I do not want a debt collector to garnish my wages for a delinquent credit card account. What can I do?
I live in Georgia and have a credit card debt I need to pay. Actually, the card went to a lawyer and they issued a garnishment on my account. After the garnishment was completed I started paying them. But I got laid off and was unable to pay them. I asked them for help and they said that they could not help and that I need to do the payments or get money from family members. So I missed out on 1-month's payment and they issued another garnishment against me. 1) I want to do the payments but how do I get them to help me to lower it for a while. 2) I remember doing one payment via my moms account and I don't want them to garnish her account. I got a job recently, but it was a huge pay cut. I am willing to do a payment but with a lower amount for awhile until I can get things back on track. But they are not wanting to work with me.
A collection agent or law firm that owns a collection account is a creditor. A creditor has several legal means of collecting a debt. But before the creditor can start, the creditor must go to court to receive a judgment. See the Bills.com resource Served Summons and Complaint to learn more about this process.
The court may decide to grant a judgment to the creditor. A judgment is a declaration by a court that the creditor has the legal right to demand a wage garnishment, a levy on the debtor's bank accounts, and a lien on the debtor's property. A creditor that is granted a judgment is called a "judgment-creditor." Which of these tools the creditor will use depends on the circumstances. We discuss garnishment below.
The most common method used by judgment-creditors to enforce judgments is wage garnishment, in which a judgment creditor would contact the debtor's employer and require the employer to deduct a certain portion of the debtor's wages each pay period and send the money to the creditor. However, several states, including Texas, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and South Carolina, do not allow wage garnishment for the enforcement of most judgments. In several other states, such as New Hampshire, wage garnishment is not the "preferred" method of judgment enforcement because, although possible, it is a tedious and time consuming process for creditors.
In most states, creditors are allowed to garnish between 10% and 25% of your wages, with the percentage allowed being determined by each state.
Georgia's Garnishment rules are found in O.C.G.A. Title 18 Chapter 4 Article 4 . In general, Georgia follows the federal rules for the amount of a garnishment, which allows up to 25% of a worker's wages to be garnished. See the Dept. of Labor's Employment Law Guide - Wage Garnishment and the Dept. of the Treasury's Answers About Garnishments. Municipal and state employees may be garnished.
To learn more about collections laws in Georgia, see Georgia Collection Laws.
Read the Bills.com resource Debt Negotiation and Settlement Advice. Assemble your facts, and contact the creditor. Explain that you wish to repay the debt, but at an amount you can afford. Explain that if they do not negotiate with you, your option is to declare bankruptcy. A reasonable creditor will negotiate if you demonstrate your willingness and ability to settle the debt.
Consult with an Georgia attorney experienced in civil litigation or bankruptcy to discuss bankruptcy in your situation, and specifics about garnishment laws in Georgia.
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Struggling with debt?
Mortgages, credit cards, student loans, personal loans, and auto loans are common types of debts. According to the NY Federal Reserve total household debt as of Q4 2023 was $17.503 trillion. Housing debt totaled $12.612 trillion and non-housing debt was $4.891 trillion.
According to data gathered by Urban.org from a sample of credit reports, about 26% of people in the US have some kind of debt in collections. The median debt in collections is $1,739. Student loans and auto loans are common types of debt. Of people holding student debt, approximately 8% had student loans in collections. The national Auto/Retail debt delinquency rate was 4%.
Collection and delinquency rates vary by state. For example, in Wyoming, 12% have student loan debt. Of those holding student loan debt, 7% are in default. Auto/retail loan delinquency rate is 3%.
Avoiding collections isn’t always possible. A sudden loss of employment, death in the family, or sickness can lead to financial hardship. Fortunately, there are many ways to deal with debt including an aggressive payment plan, debt consolidation loan, or a negotiated settlement.