If you’ve found yourself in a sticky situation with your bills or creditors you may be, well, about to freak out. You’re already in debt and you don’t want to increase your bills even more. So fighting off a settlement without a lawyer would be great! No more bills, and you can negotiate with the creditors. But can you do it?
Many find themselves in a rut once a creditor has begun the garnishment procedure, taking money out of your banking accounts sometimes without a notice. Causing you to bounce checks and ruin your credit report and score even further. You may be curious if you can fight back without a lawyer or even fight back at all! But you can fight back, and here’s how to fight a garnishment without a lawyer.
Firstly research the laws in your state, as they vary from state to state. A very important step on your part, as information is your weapon for fighting off the garnishment! You can call a lawyer and ask for a consultation, a free one! Take advantage of that, ask all the questions you have or possibly will have and tell them you are thinking about bankruptcy, since it will generally be a lawyer specializing in bankruptcy.
Secondly, object the court! File an objection against the garnishment, explaining to the judge why you think they should deny the creditors the ability to garnish your funds. Be concise and use all the information you’ve gained up to this point. Say the garnishment will leave you without sufficient funds to pay your rent or electric, they may deny the creditors or at least limit the amount they can take.
Thirdly, if you don’t think you have a strong enough case to stop the garnishment contact the creditor and explain to them that you will fight them in court about this issue. Of course, be nice and don’t loose your cool while on the phone, this could hurt you in the end. Explain to them you are willing to pay the monthly, just not the entire sum all at once. Try to negotiate with the creditor, especially if they have already started to garnish your wages. Once they have already started there isn’t much you can do beside filing bankruptcy. So try your best to negotiate with them.
Lastly, if you can manage to come to an agreement have a copy of the agreement filed with the court, that way if anything occurs that you were not aware of or understood fully you will have a chance to fight back. The letter will be the first item the judge will look at, so you may have a good chance.
If in doubt contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), they are the nation’s consumer protection agency that enforces the FDCPA, as they will help you fight back and advice you further in what to do in your own scenario. You want to avoid the creditor filing a lawsuit or levy that will allow them to garnish your wages, so always try to negotiate with them, always!