One of the most prolific means in which a debt collector enforces a debt collection judgment is to garnishee wages. Under a wage garnishment a debt collector can recover 10% of the judgment debtor’s wages. The debt collector hopes that the consumer will be shamed and embarrassed into fully paying off the judgment.
Importantly, it must first be understood that before a wage garnishment can happen, a debt collector must first be awarded a judgment. If the wage garnishment is the first time a consumer learns that legal action has been taken, there is undoubtedly a default judgment entered. If there is a default judgment, a proper challenge to that default judgment should stop the wage garnishment in its tracks.
If the default judgment cannot be vacated or if the judgment was not by default, it is important to understand how a wage garnishment works because a consumer may have time to seek an alternative resolution.
Firstly, after a judgment is entered, the debt collector serves a document called an “income execution” on the Sheriff or Marshal (in NYC it goes to the Marshal everywhere else it goes to the Sheriff). The income execution basically demonstrates that a judgment is entered and provides the identity of the employer. Once the Sheriff or Marshal receives the income execution, a two stage process kicks in:
Under stage one, the Sheriff or Marshal serves the consumer with a copy of the income execution giving 20 days to voluntarily surrender 10% of take home wages.
If the consumer does not comply with the stage one demand, stage two kicks in and the income execution goes to the employer. The employer is then directed to turnover to the Sheriff or Marshal 10% of each paycheck.
The Law Offices of Robert J. Nahoum, P.C. routinely represents consumers with garnisheed wages. We go to the courthouse and file an “order to show cause” to stop the wage garnishment and have the judgment vacated.
As with all of our consumer cases, we understand that our clients are under financial distress. Our job is to make things easier for our clients not harder. It is with this understanding that we have structured our fees. We charge our consumer clients based on a flat fees arrangement. Cases where we are hired to vacate a default judgment and stop a wage garnishment generally range from between $750 and $1,500.
If you have questions, concerns, or legal needs regarding garnisheed wages, we urge you to contact The Law Offices of Robert J. Nahoum, P.C. today by calling 845-232-0202.