In an effort to collect debts from you, some creditors may go to court to get a money judgment. This means the creditor sues you in court and wins the case or wins a default judgment which happens if you do not respond to the lawsuit.
After winning a judgment, the creditor will send documentation to your employer directing them to take a certain portion of your earnings and send it directly to them. If you want to prevent this from happening, you have the option of attempting to claim an exemption with the court.
What you should know about exemptions
Exemptions protect your wages from being garnished and prohibit creditors from taking certain kinds of income or more than a certain amount of your wages. This is generally done to allow a debtor to be able to keep enough money to pay for their ongoing living expenses.
Except for special situations, creditors are prevented taking income derived from social security, disability, retirement, child support and alimony. However, under most circumstances, garnishment can take place for the repayment of federal taxes or student loans that are delinquent or past due.
There is a federal wage garnishment law in place that ensures that a certain minimum amount of a person's wages are protected. Some states have also enacted even more protective laws. It is best to check with your particular state to see what the exact laws are governing garnishment.
To file an exemption, you must file a document requesting the exemption with the court that issued the original garnishment order. Depending on your state's laws, you may have to go through a hearing and expect to have to explain why the exemption applies to you. If the judge agrees, the garnishment will stop or be reduced. If not, your garnishment will continue.
The Hixson Law Firm serves clients in Mansfield, Arlington, Grand Prairie and other nearby Texas communities.