Can wages be garnished for credit card debt? You’re not the only one asking this question. With the recent downturn of the economy over the last several years, many Americans have found it difficult, if not impossible, to keep up with their monthly bills. When families are living paycheck to paycheck and bills must be juggled, credit card payments can skyrocket as an immediate solution to your struggles.
Given the choice to have your electric service turned off or pay a minimum payment on a credit card, most people would choose to pay their electric bill. Instead of skipping a minimum payment for a month or maybe two, as you had planned, you miss several months of minimum payments. Before you know it, your interest rates and total amount are much higher than when you started.
With no good way to dig yourself out your credit card debt hole, you’ll find yourself going around in circles by paying the minimum amount, only to spend it later on in the month. Credit card companies can take advantage of this situation and legally force you to garnish your wages.
In case you were wondering, yes, it is possible. However, it’s a process that varies from state to state and your credit card company.
Can Wages be Garnished for Credit Card Debt: The Process Part 1
Generally, the credit card company will send several notices and try to contact you by phone to alert you of your upcoming payments or force you to pay the outstanding balance in full. If their attempts fail, they will either write off your account or sell it to another company, sometimes referred to as a junk debt buyer. They can also hire a law firm in your area to collect on your debt. If your debt is sold to another party, that other party can also hire a local lawyer to help them collect.
Can Wages be Garnished for Credit Card Debt: The Process Part 2
Once your account has been turned over to a law collection you might receive a letter from that firm demanding payment of your account in full. Failing to respond to this letter within a specified time frame can lead you even closer to needing your wages garnished. You will most likely receive a court summons, telling you the amount due and when to show up in court.
Can Wages be Garnished for Credit Card Debt: The Process Part 3
You should always file an answer to the summons. Failure to answer with your local court will result in that law firm filing a default judgment against you. Even if you do file an answer, it’s still possible you may have a judgment entered against you down the road. However, filing an answer will give you more time to work out a possible arrangement with the company to pay the debt back outside the court system.
Can Wages be Garnished for Credit Card Debt: After the Judgment
Once a judgment has been obtained, the law firm and credit card company are free to pursue garnishing your wages. In order to do this, a judge must sign a wage garnishment order. The order will be sent out to your employer, who can face legal ramifications if they don’t comply with the order. The amount per paycheck that can be garnished varies depending on state laws and how much money you make per paycheck.
It’s important to keep up with your credit card payments and communicate with these companies. If you’re having difficulties making your minimum payments, many credit card companies will work with you in order to bring your account up in good shape. However, you must make the attempt to let them know about your financial difficulties and show effort in resolving your financial problems.