Can You Appeal a Wage Garnishment?

If the IRS, a bank or another creditor successfully applies a wage garnishment to your wages to collect a debt from you, this action can make it extremely difficult if your remaining wages aren't enough to support yourself and your family. The first step is to file a Claim of Exemption, in order to either negate your wages from the garnishment or to request a smaller amount of wages be taken out. If this has been denied, the next step is a formal appeal in a hearing. Below are the five steps to your appeal.

Step 1: Reason for Your Appeal

If you file for an appeal hearing, you will be asked to provide sufficient reason for not having your wages garnished. In most cases the reason cited is the garnishment will disallow the garnishee from supporting themselves or their family. Other reasons include losing the ability to cover expenses necessary for functional living, such as the cost of food, health care, or the result of a decrease in income.

Step 2: Financial Statement

You'll also have to provide a statement of financial status to the court that imposed the wage garnishment . You can obtain this paperwork from the court clerks' office, request the forms online, or request the forms by post.

Step 3: File All Documentation

The Claim of Exemption Form, the Petition for Appeal, and all financial statements available must be provided to the court/official who levied or delivered the creditor's garnishment. Once these forms have been completed, you may file them with the court presiding over your garnishment via the Clerk of Court. Also be sure to send copies of all documentation to your creditor.

Step 4: Allow Time for the Creditor to Respond

Your creditor must issue a response within a designated number of days or to file opposition to your appeal. The court deciding your case will designate the amount of time allowed to your creditor for matters of claim response. During this time do not issue any statements, answer any questions, or talk with any officials regarding your appeal.

Step 5: Wait For Court Response

If your creditor doesn't contest your appeal, you must wait for the court to decide whether to either terminate your garnishment or issue a new garnishment order wherein a smaller amount is taken from your check Either of these orders will be sent to you by mail.

However, if your creditor does contest your claim, you must then attend a hearing and plead your case before the court. You will have to prove circumstances of financial hardship or difficulty, or establish other evidence that your wages should be exempt from garnishment. If the court decides with the creditor, no change will be made to your garnishment order, and you may be liable for any court expenses. If the court decides for you, the garnishment ends or the amount of garnishment is reduced.

Talk to a Lawyer

An experienced attorney can assist you in making a convincing appeal and in filing all the proper legal steps. With the help of your lawyer, you can get an unfair wage garnishment changed or reversed so you can begin making enough to support your family again and so your wages aren't unfairly taken from you.

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