The only thing that matters is that there is a court judgment against you. With a court judgment, any legal defenses you may have had are now gone. You could consider bankruptcy or look at offering a lump sum to settle this debt for less than 100%. Hope this perspective helps!
What you don't state is long ago this debt was incurred. If some time has passed, interest has been accumulating, so it's quite possible the amount has doubled. Further, as this is an actual garnishment, that means the creditor has a judgment against you, so there is no way to stop a garnishment if the paperwork was served on your employer.
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Avenues available to stop the wage garnishment include: (1) quit your job; (2) offer a lump sum settlement of the current judgment balance; (3) hire an attorney to file a bankruptcy case; or (4) consult with an attorney about whether you can get the judgment set aside or modified.
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It sounds like there is a Judgment against you. Perhaps you were served with a lawsuit and lost or didn't respond. The credit card limit may have been $5000. However, once you become delinquent, the default rate of interest kicks in. It could be as much as 29% along with late fees and overlimit fees. So, the amount owed was greater than $5000 and the Judgment was for the amount owed plus attorneys fees and costs. Judgments in California accrue interest of 10% per year and are good for 10 years. After 10 years they can be renewed for another 10. You can either settle with the creditor or discharge this debt in bankruptcy.
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