Owing debts that you cannot pay is stressful enough without a wage garnishment. Wage garnishment is allowed in Arizona for a variety of debts. Your wages could be garnished because you have credit card debt, medical debts, personal loans, repossession or foreclosure deficiencies, tax debts, and student loan debt. However, most creditors cannot garnish your wages without suing you for the debt first.
Our Goodyear wage garnishment attorneys can review the debt collection lawsuit or wage garnishment order and advise you of the ways you can stop wage garnishment in Arizona.
Ways to Stop Wage Garnishments in Arizona
Arizona’s wage garnishment laws allow a creditor to garnish your wages up to 30 times the federal minimum wage rate or 25 percent of net pay, whichever amount is less. Losing any of your wages could be devastating for your financial wellbeing. Therefore, it is important to take quick action as soon as you receive a lawsuit or a wage garnishment petition.
Ways to fight wage garnishments in Arizona include:
Fight the Debt Collection Lawsuit
Government entities can garnish your wages without a court order for most debts owed to the government. However, general creditors must file a debt collection lawsuit and obtain a monetary judgment before your wages can be garnished for these debts.
If you do not believe you owe the debt, you can fight the debt collection lawsuit. In some cases, you could have a defense to the lawsuit even if you owe the debt. Talking to a Goodyear wage garnishment attorney as soon as you receive the lawsuit is strongly recommended.
Fight the Petition to Garnish Wages
After the creditor obtains a judgment, it must petition the court to garnish your wages. When you receive notice that the creditor is asking for a wage garnishment order, you can fight the request. You may be able to lower the garnishment amount, depending on your income level.
Pay the Debt
Paying the debt is an option to avoid wage garnishment. However, if you did not have the money to pay the debt before the creditor filed a lawsuit or obtained the garnishment order, you likely do not have access to enough money to pay the debt. Also, before you borrow money to pay the debt, talk to a Goodyear wage garnishment lawyer about filing bankruptcy to stop wage garnishments.
File for Bankruptcy Relief
Filing a bankruptcy petition under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 stops the wage garnishment. Without a legal reason, the bankruptcy court will not allow the creditor to resume garnishing your wages during your bankruptcy case.
In both a Chapter 7 case and a Chapter 13 case, you can get rid of the wage garnishment permanently if the debt is eligible for a bankruptcy discharge. A bankruptcy discharge eliminates your legal responsibility for paying the debt.
Most unsecured debts are dischargeable in bankruptcy. Examples of debts you can get rid of through a bankruptcy filing include, but are not limited to:
- Credit card accounts
- Medical debts
- Some old income tax debts
- Personal loans
- Deficiency judgments
- Old utility bills
- Past rent or lease payments
By filing a bankruptcy case, you can stop the creditor from garnishing your income and get rid of the debt permanently. However, filing for bankruptcy is a serious decision.
You need to discuss your situation with an experienced bankruptcy attorney in Goodyear before making any decisions. An attorney helps you weigh the pros and cons of filing bankruptcy, determines which chapter of bankruptcy you can file, and guides you through the bankruptcy process if you decide that bankruptcy is right for you.
Contact Our Goodyear Wage Garnishment Attorneys for a Free Case Review
At Allegiant Law Group, we understand that it can be stressful to deal with debt problems. We want to help you find an affordable way to get rid of debts and back on your feet.