Most states allow you to go into court and get the amount of garnishment reduced if you cannot pay your living expenses. In CA it is called a claim of exemption. Instructions on how to file it appear on the garnishment papers.
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Here in Michigan, you can approach the Judge assigned to the case and ask for an installment payment agreement, based on your income and other expenses. The Court can do better than the state law of 25% of take home pay. Tim Klisz kliszlaw.comAsk a similar question
The amount one is able to garnish from your wages is fixed by law. However, you could file a Petition for Partial Payment Installments in the court out of which the Judgment against you was rendered. Although the end result is not guaranteed, most courts, in today's economy, will work with judgment debtors. Depending on the amount of the debt, the court will generally see what the judgment creditor would be willing to accept in payments, based on your pay schedule. If too much, you would tell the court the same and offer a reasonable amount that you can afford, based on your income and living expenses. Some courts only allow 1 year in which to pay the debt, while others will not place a limit on the time provided the payment to be made is reasonable. Obviously, if it is a $10,000 judgment and you offer to pay $50 per month, or even $100 per month, the may take the position that the amount is unreasonable, since payment of $100 per month would take almost 9 years to satisfy the judgment, and we aren't even considering the interest that will continue to accumulate. With interested added in this example, there will be additional years added to the 9 years I just referenced.
You could also look at the possibility of Bankruptcy which could wipe out the entire obligation, along with all of your other dischargeable obligations, but you should consult with a bankruptcy attorney who will be able to more fully explore your options and obligations.
Neil M. Colman
Mr. Colman is licensed to practice law in Michigan. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Colman strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.Ask a similar question