You received notice from us that a garnishment has been filed against you. The party that filed a garnishment (the plaintiff) has obtained a money judgment against you and is seeking a court order to garnish your wages or bank accounts. There are limits on the amount of money a money judgment creditor can take from your wages but there is no limit on the amount of funds that can be seized from your bank accounts. In Georgia, a money judgment creditor can take up to 25% of your disposable earnings. Disposable earnings are the amount remaining after your employer takes mandatory deductions out of your check, such as taxes. Voluntary deductions for things like health and life insurance don’t reduce disposable earnings. Such a large deduction from your regular paycheck will likely create a substantial hardship for you.
Since the creditor has already obtained a judgment, you need to act quickly to prevent your wages or bank accounts from being garnished. In some cases, the individual being garnished did not know that the creditor obtained a money judgment. They would like to fight the garnishment on the basis that they did not receive notice of the lawsuit that gave rise to the judgment. There are two issues here: 1) the creditor is only required to give notice to you at your last know address so if you moved, you may not have know of the lawsuit and subsequent judgment, and 2) it will take time to fight the judgment through the legal system which means that your wages or bank accounts may be garnished in the mean time.
You can stop the money judgment creditor from taking any of your funds by filing a bankruptcy case. When you file a bankruptcy case, an automatic stay goes into place preventing all creditors from taking any action to collect from you. The creditor cannot even call you in an attempt to collect a debt. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy case is intended to give you a fresh start by eliminating your unsecured debt. Most unsecured debts can be discharged if you qualify for a Chapter 7 case. If you are also behind on car payments or mortgage payments, then a Chapter 13 case may be the answer for you. We may be able to eliminate your unsecured debts, restructure your car payment by lowering the interest rate and monthly payments, and save your home from foreclosure in a Chapter 13 case.
If you would like to explore your options under bankruptcy, please contact our office for a referral to a bankruptcy attorney who will schedule a free consultation. They will review your financial situation and determine whether a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 case is best given your situation. If you do nothing, the money judgment creditor will garnish your wages or seize funds in your bank account.