Being in debt is never a fun experience, but it is one that most Americans are familiar with. Almost all adult Americans have some form of debt. The type and severity of this debt vary from person to person, but it is a situation that bonds us whether we like it or not.
If your debt exists with a government agency, you might have an administrative wage garnishment (AWG) notice sent to you. AWG consists of a legal remedy pursued by the government. If successful, the government will take a percentage of your paycheck each time before it gets to you.
How do you defend yourself against this type of scenario? Read on and we'll walk you through what you need to know about wage garnishment cases.
How Does Wage Garnishment Work?
You might owe money to a government agency for a number of reasons. You might've taken a loan out with the SBA, been overpaid by the military, or still owe the VA a large sum for their care. The good news is that these entities cannot garnish your wages without a hearing first.
First, the government must send you a notice advising you that it intends to garnish your wages. However, the law provides you with an opportunity for a hearing. Therefore, you must submit your hearing request by the date stated in the notice.
Objecting to Wage Garnishment
The moment you receive a garnishment notice in the mail you should move to hire an experienced attorney for your case. It can be difficult to defend yourself against this disruptive legal process, but it isn't impossible with the right help on your side.
An attorney will be able to look at the facts of your case and develop the best possible strategy. They will know the ins and outs of the law and ensure your paperwork is filed correctly and on time.
What grounds can you object to wage garnishment?
Popular Defenses Against an Administrative Wage Garnishment
If you've already paid all or a large portion of the money you owe a governmental agency via other means, this would comprise a defense to the AWG.
You may win your AWG hearing if the government agency failed to provide you with proper due process when you allegedly incurred the debt. The government agency must provide you with a notice of the debt and an opportunity for hearing if you believe you do not owe the debt or the government claims the wrong amount.
If this was the case, you could have the process terminated.
Moreover, the law limits a government agency to garnish 15% of your paycheck.
Furthermore, you may argue and present evidence to show that you do not owe the debt. For instance, the government agency may have mistaken you with someone similarly named.
Also, you may argue that an AWG would result in a financial hardship. This requires financial disclosure on your part.
Objection Hearings and Further Negotiations
If you file an object formally, you should hear from the hearing officer within a few weeks about an official hearing. Keep in mind, AWG hearings are usually "paper hearings", not in person hearings.
Even if you do not file your hearing request on time, you can still submit a request. Unfortunately, the AWG will start and continue for 60 days before the government agency suspends the garnishment.
How to Defend Against a Garnishment Summons
It's never fun to receive an administrative wage garnishment notice in your mailbox.
If you do receive one, it's of the utmost importance that you respond quickly. The above information can help you to determine how to properly defend yourself against a garnishment summons and what next steps you need to take.
Need immediate help with your case? Give us a call anytime or chat with us online for assistance. We'll be able to provide a free case evaluation.