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Should I file hardship exemption or motion to vacate judgement with wage garnishment?

Quincy, MA |

Wage attachment does not allow me to meet basic living expenses. Have disabled dependent under my care. Could not make mortgage payment and have many Rx to pay for. Was layed off post judgement and creditor REMOVED case from court for 2 years. Once working they filed to attach wages. I could not file motion to vacate judgement during the files "absence" since court said "you are not in our court system"! Can't I vacate now based on these odd circumstances? It's old but you can't just remove a case & put it back when it's convenient. It's not a certificate of deposit!!!

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Attorney answers 2

Best Answer

You may need to seek the help of a qualified attorney to vacate a judgment so far after it was entered. Under Rule 60b you can file to vacate must demonstrate to the court that you are filing with in a reasonable period of time. Generally anything after 1 year is not reasonable, however there are always arguments that can be made. Additionally, you will need to show some excusable neglect on why you did not resolve this matter back when the case was filed. Depending upon your other debts, you may also want to look into a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case as that will stop the garnishment and eliminate your need to pay on the judgment. However, you will want to ensure that it is worth while before taking that step.

Any information provided here is for information purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice or intended to create an attorney client relationship. Attorney Michael Goldstein is licensed in Massachusetts only and is associated with counsel in RI, MD and DC.


There is another path that is guaranteed to stop the garnishment and eliminate the debt, bankruptcy. Hardship is not a basis for vacating a judgment. The judgment simply means that the court determined, based on the facts on hand, that you breached an agreement to pay a debt. That is all it is. Your hardship or life circumstances have no bearing on that determination.

In the short run, if you can get an exemption great. I don't know if MA has such a "hardship" exemption. Most exemption laws provide a relatively easy calculation for determining the amount garnished. There is usually no defense to that so long as the calculation is done properly.

Like I said, if your goal is to stop the garnishment and eliminate this debt, there really is only one option that guarantees that result, bankruptcy.