Wage Garnishment 101- How To Stop A Wage Garnishment In Nevada
A wage garnishment is an order from a judge allowing creditors to collect judgments through your paycheck. After a valid judgment is signed, a wage garnishment form is sent to your employer, by a constable, who then deducts 25% of your paycheck for the benefit of the creditor who has a judgment against you. In Nevada, garnishment orders last for up to 120 days. After the 120 days, the creditor can renew the garnishment or another creditor in line is allowed to garnish your wages for another 120 days. The garnishment will last until your judgment is satisfied. This article will give you options on how to address the dreaded Nevada Wage Garnishment.
First of all, unless you are filing for bankruptcy soon (however, it still is best to file an answer), you should answer the complaint. It only costs $74 to respond if you are sued in small claims court, and by filing an answer, you can often delay the judgment against you by months. Google”Clark County Civil Law Self-Help Center” or click here to download the correct forms to print out. Alternatively, you can go to the downtown courthouse (200 Lewis Avenue) to the Civil Law Self Help Center, and they will be able to guide you in the right direction.
What Happens If You Ignore A Complaint?
A default judgment will be issued if you don’t answer the complaint against you and in around 40 days garnishment could start. The 40 days is based on you having 20 days to respond to the complaint, and if you fail to answer the complaint, the opposing party is supposed to inform you that they will request a default judgment in three days. Afterward, it will take around ten days for the judge to sign the order. The signed judgement is then sent to a constable who will then mail garnishment forms to your employer.
Can You Lose Your Job If Your Wages Are Garnished?
It depends. Legally, under federal law, you can only legally be fired if you are garnished more than two times. However, Nevada is a right to work state, and your employer could invent, some excuse out of thin air to fire you. For example, they could let you go if you are five minutes late for work or you do not fill out a form correctly.
When Can You Not Be Garnished?
Depending upon your income source or how much you make, you could potentially be exempt from garnishment. Below are a few of the most common garnishment exemptions.:
- Your disposable income is less than $362.50 a week.
- Your support consists primarily of the following:
-SSI or SSDI payments, spousal, child support or unemployment benefits
-Federal Pension/ Retirement Benefits- The most common example of this veterans benefits. Also, PERS and other types of federal pensions are also covered.
-You are receiving compensation from any wrongful death settlements.
What Should You Do If A Judgement Has Already Been Issued?
Your options are limited after the judgment has been issued. First of all, unless you were not adequately notified (even so, it would still be hard to overturn the default judgment), it can be impossible to try to overturn a default judgment. You also can try to negotiate with the creditors. But, as the Creditors are already receiving 25% of your paycheck, negotiation may be futile. Therefore, the only realistic chance you would have to obtain a favorable outcome from negotiation will be if you have a lump sum payment that you could give the creditor. If you don’t meet any of the above criteria, bankruptcy may be your only option in stopping your wage garnishment. Therefore, if the amount that you owe is large enough, (you need to ask honestly ask yourself if you will be able to pay off that debt within a three to five year period) and you qualify, you should consider filing for bankruptcy as the bankruptcy’s automatic stay will immediately stop the wage garnishment.
Judgment Debtors Exam-Beware
Creditors, who have a judgment against you, can request that you undergo a judgment debtors exam. At the judgment debtors exam, you will be asked numerous questions related to your financial health and your overall ability to pay the creditor. Even if you are filing for bankruptcy or if you have already filed for bankruptcy, you need to attend this hearing. Because if you do not show up, you may be charged for contempt of court, which will result in a warrant for your arrest being issued. Civil, contempt of court rulings, as the court is going by civil time vs. criminal time, often takes longer to quash. For example, minor misdemeanor warrants take at most a week in Las Vegas to be quashed; however, quashing civil contempt of court warrants can take up to 30 days.
You need to contact a bankruptcy attorney, experienced in halting wage garnishments, as soon as you realize you are about to be garnished. Your employer’s human resources will give you notice before the garnishment occurs. So, you need to set up an appointment ASAP, for a free consultation, with an experienced bankruptcy attorney who can give you all of your options.