How to Stop Wage Garnishment ASAP

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wage garnishmentHaving your wages garnished is not just alarming and infuriating, but it’s essentially counter-productive because it impedes your ability to pay down your debts. Like almost everyone, you depend on your salary to maintain your standard of living and support your family. Having a creditor cut into that cash lifeline puts your financial health and future at risk. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that you can do something that wage garnishing creditors categorically don’t want you to do: stop them ASAP. Below are the steps to follow.

  1. Identify who is garnishing your wages, why, and for how much.

You have every right to know exactly who is garnishing your wages, and why they’ve taken such a dramatic action. If you can’t piece this story together from the documents you have in your possession, contact your payroll department and ask them for details, or speak with your bank. If you didn’t receive a summons and complaint outlining the creditor’s allegations against you, then you can identify who was served by contacting the court where your case was filed (typically the Superior or District Court in the county where you live).

And while you’re digging into the details, confirm precisely how much is being garnished per paycheck. Keep in mind that each state has its own laws governing how much can be garnished. For example, in Missouri creditors may garnish the lesser of the following:

  • 25 percent of a debtor’s disposable earnings, or
  • 10 percent of a debtor’s disposable earnings if they are the head of a hold, or
  • The amount by which a debtor’s weekly disposable earning exceeds 30x the Federal hourly minimum wage (currently $7.25/hour).
  1. Find and hire a qualified attorney.

The web can be a source of valuable information (as you’re demonstrating right now by reading this article). But it’s not a substitute for proper legal counsel, which can only be provided by an attorney. Find one in your area that has deep experience in bankruptcy filings, and learn about your options — specifically regarding filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Remember that time is of the essence! The wage garnishment will not stop otherwise. What’s more, if you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection within 90 days of the wage garnishment commencing, you may be allowed to recover them.

  1. File for bankruptcy.

If your attorney advises you to file for bankruptcy and you agree with this recommendation, then as noted above, do so without delay by providing your attorney with the required documentation (including pay stubs, tax returns, debt collection notices, etc.). You’ll receive a case number. Provide this to your bank or payroll department (usually by fax) and the wage garnishment will immediately stop. If you’re eligible to reclaim any garnished wages in the 90 days preceding your filing, then your attorney will prepare and submit the request on your behalf.

  1. Take the requisite credit counseling course.

As a result of the bankruptcy filing, you’ll need to complete a requisite credit counseling course that is approved by the Department of Justice (you’ll find a nationwide list here). The course can be taken online. Get started on this as soon as possible.

A Final Word

Having your wages garnished doesn’t mean that you’re powerless, and must resign yourself to whatever your creditors decide is in their best interest. You have legal rights and protections, and you should assume that your creditors don’t want you to know what these are. All they want and care about is their money, whereas what you want and care about is your overall financial health and future.

As such, if your wages are being garnished — or if a creditor(s) is threatening to do so — then don’t panic. Get your paperwork together, gather the appropriate information, speak with an experienced bankruptcy attorney, and make an informed decision that is best for YOU.

Learn More

To learn more about your options and what the road ahead might look like, contact the Law Office Charles H. Huber for your free, no-obligation consultation.

3 Different Ways to Fight a Traffic Ticket in Court

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taking a ticket to courtEveryone speeds — at least once in a while — and sometimes, you get caught. In fact, every single day, 112,328 people are slapped with an average speeding fine of about $150, and about 41 million speeding tickets are issued each year.

Getting a ticket can be very undesirable — costs are high, insurance premiums may go up, and taking a ticket to court can mean missing out on work and pay. Fighting your ticket, and getting the help of a traffic ticket lawyer, could save you from some of these negative effects. Check out these tips for traffic court:

Challenge the Officer’s Observations
Your citation is often solely based on what the officer who ticketed you thought happened. If you are able to cast a doubt on his ability to accurately perceive what happened, or that he misunderstood a crucial part of your narrative, you may be able to prove your innocence. Consider sourcing the statement of witnesses who will testify to your version of events, photographs of intersections, stop signs, and road signs. Provide any other evidence that you feel proves that your version of the events is true.

Prove That Your Action was Necessary to Avoid Harm
Sometimes, extenuating circumstances make it so that it is very hard to precisely obey the law, which is why you sometimes need to break it. This is a fact recognized in all states. For instance, you would be able to beat a speeding charge if you could prove that you were speeding to avoid an out of control truck. Some more realistic examples include speeding to make room for cars entering a highway or speeding to avoid an unseen obstacle.

Your Conduct Was Legally Justified
There are circumstances that could prove that your conduct was legally justified. For instance, stopping on a highway because of a loud noise coming from your vehicle, or speeding to the doctors because of heart pain.

The National Highway Traffic Security Administration estimates the collective cost of speeding and related accidents to be around $40.4 billion annually, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to figure out the best way to get out of your traffic ticket by taking a ticket to court. Get a speeding ticket lawyer or traffic lawyer to help you make your case.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: What Can You Expect From Your Bankruptcy Trustee

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filing for bankruptcyDid you know that Chapter 7 bankruptcy is what one might file for personal debt? There are many advantages of filing for bankruptcy, as many loans can be forgiven or restructured. However, it typically only takes around six months to complete, and a Chapter 7 bankruptcy costs $306, and stays on your credit report for 10 years after it is arranged.

But, sometimes the pros outweigh the cons, and in these cases, it is important to know what the Chapter 7 process looks like, and when and how to get help. For instance, it is good to know exactly what your bankruptcy trustee’s role will be.

When filing Chapter 7, an impartial bankruptcy trustee is appointed to oversee and administer your case. Their duties are wide-ranging, and include:

Reviewing Documents
When you file for bankruptcy, you file a petition along with other documents that disclose your personal and financial information, including information about your debts, your property, your income, and your financial affairs. Your trustee will often want to look at your pay stubs, tax returns, and other information about your assets. Their job is to make sure that your petition matches your financial documents.

Liquidating Nonexempt Assets
Luckily, some of your things can be exempt from the bankruptcy process, but everything else is sold off by your bankruptcy trustee, who is in charge of determining the value of your property and deciding whether or not they should be sold in order to pay your creditors.

Avoid Transfers or Security Interests
Before many people file for bankruptcy, they have properties transferred over to other people to avoid liquidation, or they pay back favored creditors, like family members. If your bankruptcy trustee detects any such actions, they can take the necessary actions to get the asset or funds back to distribute to creditors.

It is your bankruptcy trustee’s responsibility to make sure that your finances are restructured and all creditors are given at least something, but it is still important to enlist in bankruptcy help from a bankruptcy lawyer. If you are filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 7, then specifically a Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney.

5 Tips for Those Considering Filing Bankruptcy

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filing for bankruptcyIn 2013 alone, there were an estimated 1,071,932 bankruptcy filings in the United States — 728,833 were Chapter 7 bankruptcy filings, and 8,980 were Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings. But for every single case, at least one individual had to go through the process of filing for bankruptcy and navigate those murky waters.

Luckily, bankruptcy lawyers are there to provide much-needed bankruptcy help.

1. Assess Your Finances
During your bankruptcy process, your trustee, creditors, and advisers will give you advice and tell you what to do and what not to do. Make sure to review you finances, debts, and expenses beforehand so you understand exactly where you actually stand.

2. Pull Your Credit Report
Many people feel relieved when the debt collectors stop knocking and calling, and think that their debt might have magically gone away. This is not so. In fact, it is more likely a calm before the storm. Remember, your creditors can petition for your bankruptcy in court. Look at your actual credit report to see exactly what you owe and how it affects your credit report.

3. Inform Debt Collectors and Creditors
Since your creditors won’t legally be allowed to contact you once you have filed for bankruptcy, it is a good idea to inform your creditors that you have filed for bankruptcy and under which district.

4. Get Credit Counseling Certificate
Obtaining a certificate of successful completion of a credit counseling course is required before filing bankruptcy. The counseling can take place up to six months prior to filing, so get it done sooner rather than later. Plus, this counseling session will directly benefit you and will help you move onto a new phase in your financial life.

5. Get a Bankruptcy Attorney
Bankruptcy laws are quite complex, and many consumers are unable to file by themselves. Don’t take the risk, or make the process any harder on yourself than it needs to be, and get help filing for bankruptcy.

No matter what, filing for bankruptcy should be something that allows you to gain more freedom and a chance to restart your personal or business finances. Follow these tips and get the help you need.

How to Bounce Back After Bankruptcy

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chapter 11 bankruptcy attorneySometimes, if you have racked up extensive debt and your creditors have been badgering you, the only way out may be to declare a Chapter 11 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Despite the negative stigma associated with the procedure, filing for bankruptcy is actually designed as a way to help people restructure their finances and lives, so that everyone, including the original lenders, end up at least a little happy.

Indeed, there were an estimated 1,071,932 bankruptcy filings in the United States during 2013, 728,833 of which were under Chapter 7. It usually takes approximately six months to complete the bankruptcy process; after that, you won’t be able to file again for another six years, so it is important that you regain your financial autonomy. A Chapter 7 or Chapter 11 bankruptcy attorney will be able to give some advice, but you should also check out these tips:

Make a Budget
It’s time to make — and adhere to — a strict budget, which may be difficult, depending on your previous spending habits. But it will greatly benefit you in the long run, so don’t be afraid to seek financial advice from your bankruptcy attorney or a financial consultant.

Fall in Love With Cash
Start paying for things mostly in cash, which can help you limit the amount you spend. Spending money you didn’t have is what most likely got you into this mess in the first place, so a new approach may be in order. Some people have found success by allocating a certain amount of cash to each of their budget items and placing that cash in an envelope. When the money is gone, so is your ability to spend it — at least until the next month.

Pay Bills On Time
This might seem to be a given, but it is extremely important that you start to build your credit back up, and late payments can delay that process. Make sure to pay all bills, no matter how small, on time or early. Mark due dates on a calendar, or even set yourself alarms on your phone to make sure you don’t forget.

Take Out a Credit Card
Part of building up your credit again means not taking your credit card for granted. Use it with caution, in order to show the credit companies that you are indeed going to pay every bill in full. You may be able to get a regular credit card, since the credit companies know that you have little debt after the bankruptcy, but you can also always get a secured card of some sort.

Your Chapter 7 or Chapter 11 bankruptcy attorney should be able to give you more financial advice for the period after you file for bankruptcy.