In the case that a creditor files a judgment against you for a debt, an option to consider (if it is available in your state) is an installment payment plan.
Setting up an installment payment plan through a court order will protect your wages from being garnished. Creditors can garnish up to 25% of your wages to collect repayment for debt. Wage garnishment can make it difficult or impossible to live comfortably, reducing the amount you are able to spend on essentials like food and toiletries, utilities and bills, or supporting your family.
When requesting an installment payment plan, you must detail your income and expenses to the court. You will file a Motion for Installed Payments, and a copy will be sent to your creditor, who has 14 days to approve or deny your proposed plan. A creditor can object to the motion, so make sure your payment plan is reasonable- pay the highest amount you can and no less. The creditor may object to the plan if the proposed repayment period is too long.
If the court denies your Motion for Installed Payments, you have several options. One is to file a new plan with higher payments. You'll have to pay the filing fee again.
However, if your plan is approved, the court will issue an Order Regarding Installment Payments. This means that, effective immediately, you will start making payments according to the Order. An Order Regarding Installment Payments should effectively stop or prevent a wage garnishment, as long as you make your payments on time. Your employer cannot legally garnish your paycheck once they've received this order- if they continue to do so, you can file on objection with the court. You'll need to include a copy of your Order Regarding Installment Payments with your objection.
Don't miss a payment. If you do, a creditor can file a Motion to Set Aside the Order for Installment Payments. You'll receive a notice from the court that the motion has been filed, and have 14 days to request a hearing to object to the motion. At the hearing, you'll explain why you missed your payment, and how the court can be assured that future payments will be made in full and on time.
Installment payment plans are just one option you have to halt a wage garnishment. You also might consider filing for exemptions with the court to reduce the amount of your wage garnishment. An automatic stay, effective immediately upon filing for bankruptcy, will stop a wage garnishment in its tracks.