If you are living in Illinois and find yourself in the unenviable position of having your wages garnished chances are it is for either falling behind in payments to a creditor or failure to make child or spousal support payments. Creditors in the state of Illinois can file suit against you if you have not made regular payments and they can request that your wages be garnished in order to recoup lost funds. If the Illinois court agrees with the request they can issue a writ to have your wages garnished. In this case the court in Illinois will order your employer to withhold a determined amount of money from your monthly paycheck.
If you wish to stop wage garnishment in Illinois there are several options available to you.
Pay the Debt and Avoid the Suit
The best way to stop the garnishment you're experiencing in Illinois is to pay the debt off. If you have a creditor who has had to sue and obtain a garnishment to collect the money he is owed, chances are he's tried other things first. Filing suit against you and being awarded the judgment to garnish your wages is generally a last step for a creditor. By paying the debt off before it goes to court, you can stop the garnishment from ever happening.
If you can't repay the debt or making payments is extremely difficult the best move is to contact the creditor. Ignoring creditors generally creates more problems than it avoids. Contact them and attempt to come up with a plan that will work for both of you. Most lenders are willing to work with creditors if it means they will eventually be repaid.
If you are able to pay off a debt within 10 days of the time the judgment was issued it will invalidate the writ of garnishment against your wages.
Appeal to the Court in Illinois
There are situations where the garnishment against a person is too harsh and because of it a person can't afford their food and housing and health needs. If this happens you can file an appeal at the court that issued the judgment that resulted in your garnishment. You will want to file in the court of Illinois a claim of exemption. It is essentially an attempt to defend yourself against having your wages garnished and courts in Illinois and everywhere else understand that a person has the right to defend themselves.
The courts in Illinois will have the forms you need to claim exemption. After submitting the claim you will be issued a hearing date. Your responsibility at this point will be to provide those at the hearing with evidence that the wage garnishment is causing you to not meet your basic living needs. This means providing the court with documentation of monthly living expenses and income, like mortgage and rent payments, food expenses, healthcare expense etc.
If the court agrees with your claim that the garnishments are too punitive and are preventing you from basic living expectations, they can set aside their original writ and issue a different one where they garnish a smaller amount each month.
Bankruptcy in Illinois
Bankruptcy should always be a last resort for anyone filing in Illinois or elsewhere facing this sort of difficulty. It will negatively affect your credit rating for a long time. If you do need to go to this extreme proceed carefully. On the plus side, filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy creates an instant "stay" which legally prohibits all your creditors from attempting to collect on your debts, including Illinois wage garnishments.
Seek Legal Assistance
Having your wages garnished because of unpaid unsecured debts, like credit cards, can be adjusted by other arrangements more often than not, worked out with a new repayment plan, having the withholding amount decreased, or when necessary by filing for bankruptcy. Some garnishments in Illinois, however, have nothing to do with debt and instead are due to unpaid taxes, spousal or child support, or to pay penalties due to criminal activities. In cases such as these it may be in your best interest to contact an attorney and see what he may be able to do to help you stop the garnishment you are under in the state of Illinois.