Can You Appeal a Wage Garnishment in New Jersey?
If you are in debt, creditors can try to get the court to let them take money right out of your paycheck. This is called “wage garnishment.” While there are limits on how much of your salary can be garnished, individuals with garnished wages will likely experience some form of financial difficulty and may need to make significant lifestyle changes due to their diminished financial capacity. Understandably, many individuals would like to fight against having creditors take some of their hard-earned cash.
New Jersey allows individuals who have garnishments to appeal and try and have it removed. There is a legal process by which you dispute a wage garnishment in court and argue that it is either too oppressive or should not exist at all. Aside from appealing wage garnishment, you can also file for bankruptcy, which automatically stops any wage garnishments that are being requested or that are in place.
If you are considering filing a wage garnishment appeal, talk to Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates’ New Jersey bankruptcy lawyers by calling (609) 755-3115 to get a free initial review of your case.
What is Wage Garnishment in New Jersey
Wage garnishment is when creditors take funds directly from your income before it ever reaches you. Creditors can ask the court to garnish your wages when you are in debt to them. The court then assesses the situation as presented to them by the creditors and, if they agree, will issue a “garnishment,” allowing creditors to take funds directly out of their paycheck to satisfy their debts. Because of the nature of how wage garnishments work, your employer will know that your wages are being garnished since they are the ones diverting some of your pay. However, you cannot be fired for having your wages garnished. After all, if you are fired, you have no salary that can be diverted to creditors.
Wage garnishments can only be up to a certain amount of money in New Jersey. Generally, this amount is 25% of your net income. Garnishments are not allowed to be so severe that they impact your ability to meet basic needs like food or rent. That being said, wage garnishments will significantly impact your finances and how you live your life.
How to Appeal a Wage Garnishment in New Jersey
Appealing a wage garnishment in New Jersey is a multi-step process. The State of New Jersey provides a helpful packet detailing the steps you need to take to appeal or object to a wage garnishment order. Although you can technically represent yourself when appealing a wage garnishment, it is always a better idea to retain professional legal help.
Certification in Objection to Wage Garnishment
This is a form that explains why you are objecting to your wages being garnished. The three options for your reason are that you are not the correct debtor, you have more than one garnishment, or the garnishment is taking an illegal amount of money. However, you may also specify another reason to object to the garnishment. Our lawyers can help you fill out this form in an effective manner to best represent your situation to the court.
Wage Garnishment Worksheet
The Wage Garnishment Worksheet is used if you believe that your garnishment is taking too much money. On this form, you list your gross pay and subtract all of the expenses and deductions from it. This form helps the court see exactly how much income you have left over after taxes, garnishment, and other expenses.
Certification of Service
The certification of service is a document telling the court that you sent your objection to the other side of the case and that they know about it. The law does not allow parties to legal proceedings to hide the fact that they are taking legal action from each other. This form explains how you got the documents to your creditor or their lawyer and when they were sent the objection to the garnishment.
File Objection Paperwork
You need to deliver a copy of all wage garnishment documents to both your creditors and the court so that they both have them on file. Our lawyers can make sure that both parties are given this documentation in a timely fashion. Within seven days of filing with the court, you will get a court date set where there will be a hearing about the garnishment where you can argue your side of the case.
Other Ways to Prevent Wage Garnishment in New Jersey
Besides an appeal, there are other actions you can take to try and prevent your wages from being garnished by creditors. Depending on your situation, some of these options may be more appealing than others, so you should speak to our Marlton, NJ bankruptcy lawyers to figure out which option is best for you.
Simply put, if you pay your debts, your wages cannot be garnished. Although this may not be an option for people in certain circumstances, the most efficient way to avoid wage garnishment is to promptly pay creditors what they are owed.
File for Bankruptcy
One of the primary ways to prevent wages from being garnished is to file for bankruptcy. When you file for bankruptcy, the court puts an order, or “automatic stay,” in place that prevents creditors from seizing your assets, garnishing your wages, or making an attempt to collect debt from you in any way.
Part of the reason that automatic stays exist is that it allows debtors to breathe a little bit and pay off their debts at a pace that does not put them under financial stress. Filing for bankruptcy can put less financial stress on you than dealing with wage garnishment.
Talk with Our New Jersey Bankruptcy Lawyers Today
Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates has New Brunswick, NJ bankruptcy lawyers ready to help with your case when you call (609) 755-3115.