Garnishments are a form of debt collection in which creditors take money owed to them directly from the debtor's bank account or paycheck. Collection bureaus and government agencies may seek garnishment for many types of unsecured debts, including student loans, credit cards, taxes, child support and alimony. Before garnishing any accounts, the creditor must obtain a signed order from the court.
Establish that the creditor does not have grounds for the garnishment. The court may not authorize the collecting party to garnish your accounts if you receive all of your income through a retirement plan or Social Security payments. If you do not believe that the creditor is legally entitled to the garnishment, bring supporting paperwork to the court hearing, such as Social Security statements and income tax returns.
Settle the debt in full. If you are able to pay off the entire debt before the hearing, the court will not have grounds on which to enter a garnishment order.
Reach an out-of-court settlement. Creditors may stop pursuing garnishment if the debtor is able to repay his or her debt in regular increments.
File an emergency bankruptcy petition. Persons who are unable to cover basic living expenses because of garnishments and cannot afford to repay delinquent debts may need to file bankruptcy to get out of garnishment. Once the court receives a bankruptcy petition, it will enter an automatic stay, which will bar the creditor from collecting on the debts until all parties reach an agreement in court.
Anna Green has been published in the "Journal of Counselor Education and Supervision" and has been featured regularly in "Counseling News and Notes," Keys Weekly newspapers, "Travel Host Magazine" and "Travel South." After earning degrees in political science and English, she attended law school, then earned her master's of science in mental health counseling. She is the founder of a nonprofit mental health group and personal coaching service.