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Wage garnishment can be stressful and humiliating. It can also prevent you from paying your bills that are a necessity. If creditors are coming after you in Texas, you can breathe a sigh of relief. In most cases, wage garnishments are not allowed in Texas. However, there are still instances when your wages can be garnished.
What is wage garnishment?
By definition, a wage is a fixed regular payment that is typically made to an employee by an employer. Wage garnishments mean that a court has issued an order that requires your employer to withhold a certain percentage of your paycheck.
Federal law prohibits your employer from firing you if you have one wage garnishment. However, Texas strengthens federal law. Your employer cannot fire, discipline or refuse to hire you because of your wage garnishment.
When can my wages be garnished in Texas?
- Child support
- IRS debt
- Federal Student Loans
- Other federal debts, such as income taxes
Another situation where your wages can be garnished is if you have a valid judgment from a creditor in another state. If that state allows wage garnishments, then your wages may be garnished here in Texas.
While your wages cannot be garnished in Texas, a creditor can place a levy on your bank account. Once your paycheck is placed into your bank account, it is no longer considered wages and can be seized. This means that creditors can still take money from your checking or savings account, or other financial institution.
Do not ignore a creditor’s lawsuit
Even though Texas shields debtors from several debt collection attempts, these lawsuits still carry significant financial repercussions for years to come. Unfortunately, even if you’re unable to afford the debt, you are still obligated to pay the debt. Loan contracts are often ironclad. And it may be possible to even be held accountable by a third party who purchased the debt from your original creditor. A judgment against you can haunt you for years to come.
Failure to respond to a creditor’s lawsuits can hurt you in the following ways:
- Default judgment. A default judgment means that the court will sign a court order that says you owe the plaintiff a sum of money. After a certain period of time, the judgment becomes final and non-appealable. This means that it will not be subject to any legal challenge.
- You’ll pay the plaintiff’s attorney fees, court costs and interests. This can increase the amount you owe your creditor tremendously. Further, the interest continues to run until the judgment is paid or becomes unenforceable by lapse of time.
- Hurt your credit. A judgment can linger on your credit report for up to 10 years. This can hurt your chances of taking out new lines of credit. Additionally, as mentioned above, once wages have been put into a bank account, they can be seized.
While you can’t be put in jail for owing debt in Texas (except child support), you can be put in jail for contempt of court, such as not turning over your tax refund as ordered by a court. A judgment against you can be challenging. For this reason, consulting with a debt assistance attorney can help right your finances.
Writ of judgment
Once you have a judgment against you, creditors can garnish your bank account in Texas. They do this through a Writ of Garnishment. Typically, you are given no notice of garnishment. You may find out through having a payment returned or when you receive a notice from your bank that your account is frozen. The reason is this occurs is because when a person receives notice, they typically pull their money from the bank. As a result bank account notices have no notice.
In order to stop a bank garnishment, you need the assistance of a bankruptcy attorney. Contact a bankruptcy lawyer as soon as possible.
What does it mean to be judgment proof?
Many people don’t fear civil court with creditors because they believe that they are judgment proof. Generally, a debtor who doesn’t have enough income or own any property is considered judgment proof. In Texas, a creditor cannot place a lien on your home that is your primary residence, and no other assets that can be sold to repay debts.
If your financial situation improves, however, credits might be able to collect on the debt you owe.
A Bankruptcy Attorney from The Carlson Law Firm Can Help
If you are facing a lawsuit from a creditor, call us right away. The sooner you get these issues resolved, the better. We can help stop lawsuits and wage garnishments through helping you file for bankruptcy. We offer Chapter 7 bankruptcy solutions for clients in Killeen, Waco and Temple.
There are many benefits to filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. It allows you to walk away from your debt and look toward a healthy financial future. Typically, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a speedy process and there are no monthly payments. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy can help end harassing attempts to collect a debt.
Call us today for a free, confidential no-obligation consultation.