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Long Island Garnishment

If you are unable to pay your bills on time there are a number of methods that your creditors have at their disposal to attempt to collect the debt from you. If you are only a few days or a few weeks late, most creditors will start off by sending you past due notices and calling you in an attempt to collect the debt. As your debts become more and more late, your creditors will become more aggressive in their attempts to collect the debt. For example, if you fail to take steps such as debt settlement or debt consolidation to payoff your debt, your creditors may conclude that you have no intention to voluntarily paying. As a result your creditors may file lawsuits against you in court and secure judgments against you. After a judgment is secured, in order to collect what is owed a portion of your paycheck may be garnished. This means that your employer is required by law to retain a portion of your paycheck and send that money to your creditor. In New York this process is also referred to as wage or income execution. If your wages are being garnished because a creditor obtained a judgment or default judgment against you, it is important that you contact an experienced Long Island Garnishment Lawyer who will review the specifics of your financial situation and explain to your options for managing your debt.

Limits on wage garnishments

While a creditor with a judgment against you has the right to garnish your wages, in order to do so the creditor must follow specific steps to remain in compliance with the law. In most cases a creditor must first receive a court order before wages can be garnished.

In addition, there are limits on the amount of your paycheck that a creditor can seize. A creditor cannot seize your entire paycheck, leaving you with no money to purchase food and pay for other life necessities. According to New York Civil Practice Law and Procedure section 5231, a creditor can only take the lesser of 10% of your gross wages or 25% of your disposable income to the extent that such amount exceeds 30% of minimum wage. Your wages cannot be garnished if your disposable income is less than 30 times minimum wage. "Disposable earnings" are defined as the money that left over in your paycheck after your employer has made deductions required by law such as federal, state and local taxes, and social security.

Stopping a garnishment

Because the law requires creditors to follow specific steps in order to get garnish wages, if the creditor did not follow those steps then there is a good chance that the wage garnished can be stopped. For example, you must be notified of that the creditor has filed a lawsuit against you. This means that the creditor must serve you with a civil complaint giving you the time and place of the hearing regarding your debt. If you were never properly served, and therefore had no knowledge of the time and place of the hearing, the court may side with the creditor and issue a default judgment against you. With a default judgment in hand, the creditor can garnish your wages. However, if you did not attend the court hearing because you were never properly served, then you can contest the default judgment against you and have the garnishment reversed.

Having your wage garnished will have a negative impact on your financial situation and the financial stability of your family. However, there are ways to avoid garnishment and to fight garnishment that an experienced Long Island Garnishment Lawyer understands. The staff at Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC has extensive experience helping clients avoid garnishments, avoid bank account levies, eliminate debt and deal with other issues related to debt relief. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your debt issues.