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Facing wage garnishment? Here’s what you need to know

Facing the possibility of having your wages garnished can be a frightening experience. Creditors generally do not use wage garnishment as a first attempt to recover owed debts, though. Instead, this approach usually only comes when someone in Maryland is significantly behind on payments.

What kind of debts can lead to wage garnishment?

Creditors can use wage garnishment to recover any number of different debts. For example, it can be used for past-due student loans as well as personal loans. Other common types of debt that may eventually be subject to garnishment include:

  • Back taxes
  • Past child support
  • Court case judgements

How does it work?

Before a creditor can garnish a debtor’s wages, it must first schedule a court hearing. Debtors are usually notified of this hearing. The creditor must then be able to demonstrate that the named debtor not only owes money but has not made required payments. If the creditor manages to convince the court of its position, the court will issue an order to the debtor’s employer with instructions to withhold a specific amount from his or her paycheck.

Avoiding wage garnishment is generally ideal, and Maryland debtors have several options for doing so. One approach is to file for bankruptcy, which puts a temporary pause on things like collection efforts, foreclosure and even wage garnishment. Working directly with creditors to negotiate a more reasonable repayment plan might be a more suitable approach for others. However, since there is so much on the line in this situation, it is usually well advised to speak with a knowledgeable attorney about one’s options.

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