It feels like an impossible situation. You have a job, but you simply aren’t making enough to pay all of your expenses. Maybe you had to accept a decrease in pay or position recently. Perhaps you simply racked up unexpected expenses due to an accident or an illness. Whatever the cause of your financial stress, you are likely already doing everything in your power to repay your debts and regain control of your financial life.
Unfortunately, many companies aren’t patient with the people that owe them money. Even though you may make every effort to pay them, they may want their money faster. That can result in your creditor filing a civil lawsuit against you to seek a garnishment of your wages. Such a lawsuit can take a terrible situation and make it infinitely worse. The good news is that you have rights, including the potential right to seek bankruptcy protections.
The problem with wage garnishment
When you are already struggling to pay all of your obligations with your current budget, losing out on a percentage of your monthly income could prove devastating to your already precarious financial situation. Unfortunately, creditors don’t stop to think about the consequences of their actions on your life.
Wage garnishment is simply a means for them to collect as much of what is owed to them as possible. Unfortunately, for you, it could mean increased aggression and hostility from other creditors whom you can no longer pay as reliably or as much. It could also mean struggling to pay your utilities and other basic expenses, such as rent or a mortgage.
Unsecured debt related to credit cards or medical debt should never put you at risk of being homeless. Unfortunately, when creditors place a wage garnishment against you, there can be a catastrophic cascade of financial consequences.
The automatic stay includes pending lawsuits
Whether your income is higher than the median wage in Louisiana or you pass the means test and qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, when you file, you receive an automatic stay on debt collection activity. That automatic stay can mean the dismissal of a pending lawsuit seeking the wage garnishment.
It can also give you a little breathing room if creditors are calling you at home or at work. So long as you complete the bankruptcy process and achieve discharge, you won’t have to worry about the same creditor seeking wage garnishment in the future. However, if you failed to secure a discharge, your creditor may refile their lawsuit in the future.
Legal representation improves your chance of success
When you face the potential of wage garnishment on an already tight budget, you may panic and worry about how you will possibly pay for all of your living expenses. Putting a stop to the lawsuit and securing a discharge through bankruptcy can help you regain your financial equilibrium.
Sitting down to consult with a bankruptcy attorney is an important first step for anyone facing wage garnishment or other extreme creditor actions due to debt.