Most people know the general concept of a wage garnishment, ie, a creditor taking money directly from your paycheck each payday. However, how does a creditor get this access? How quickly will it happen if you do not pay your creditors? How can you STOP it?
Basically, once you stop paying your creditors, they will begin collection efforts. Phone calls, letters, and after awhile (6 months to a year) they will sue you in the County you reside.
When they win, (presumably they will win, since you really do owe the debt), they will have to file another motion to begin the garnishment procedure. Once this motion is granted, they will issue a "Citation to Discover Assets", which is a hearing you are required to attend, to provide information regarding your bank accounts, paycheck, etc.
After all these hearings, which can take up to 6 months AFTER the creditor sues you, they will likely get a Judges Order for Wage Garnishment. At this point, they will be entitled to a percentage (usually about 15%) of your gross wages.
The guaranteed way to STOP A WAGE GARNISHMENT is to file a bankruptcy. The Automatic Stay that comes into effect upon filing effectively trumps the Judges Order garnishing your wages. There is no other way to stop the garnishment other than paying it off.
So, if you are looking to hire an attorney for bankruptcy, DO IT NOW to avoid getting a wage garnishment. Once your wages become garnished, it will be very difficult for you to even pay your month-to-month bills let alone attorney fees for the actual bankruptcy.