Understanding Wage Garnishment

When you owe a debt, you will likely come across aggressive debt collectors that make attempts to harass you into getting the money that you owe. One of the tactics that they use is a scare tactic where they will threaten to garnish your wages. However, it is important that you know and understand the laws about wage garnishment.

Understanding the Law of Wage Garnishment

While it is legal for debt collectors to garnish your wages, they can only do so once they sue you, win the case, and have the judge decide that your wages need to be garnished. Any other threats made by debt collectors to garnish your wages are actually illegal if they have no intention of filing a lawsuit or if they cannot even pursue one.

What to do if There is a Lawsuit

You should never ignore any lawsuit that is served to you. The best course of action for you to take is to get an attorney and get the assistance you need to handle the court system. If you ignore the lawsuit and don’t show up, then the person who filed the lawsuit (the plaintiff) will win by default.

If you get a wage garnishment notification and never received any lawsuit papers then you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. If the debt collection agency didn’t follow proper procedures, then you can have their actions overturned in the court. The best way to avoid any legal action from collection agencies is to properly manage your debt before it becomes delinquent.

What Will Happen to Your Credit Score?

If your debt collection is coming from a creditor, then you need to be aware of what will happen to your credit score. If a creditor decides to take legal action against you, and wins, then that judgment will on your credit report. It will stay on there for seven years from the date that it was filed. Just like anything on your credit report, the more time that passes then the less that it will affect your score, but it will still be visible up until that seven-year mark. When you have garnishments on your record then it can have a serious impact on aspects of your life that need credit like the car buying process, your mortgage, and opening up other credit cards.

Can You Protect Your Wage from Collection?

You want to see what the local law says about wage garnishment. Some states have it be illegal to garnish wages at all, and that can be an option that protects you if your debt goes delinquent. You also will need to look at the numbers of your situation. The debt that you owe may be easily paid off, so wage garnishment won’t affect your situation. However, the best way to protect yourself is to not have your debt go delinquent.


Instead of just ignoring your debt or having it become more of a situation than it needs to be, you should take action. You should try to set up repayment plans with your lender like your credit card company so that you can fix the situation before anything serious happens.