People in Iowa whose wages are being garnished may have options to stop it. Creditors use wage garnishment to collect money through the court system. Wage garnishment usually begins with the creditor filing a lawsuit against the debtor to get a judgment for the amount owed; creditors often obtain judgments by default because the debtor fails to answer the lawsuit during the period allowed for answering. Once the creditor has secured a judgment, the garnishment paperwork is delivered to the sheriff, who passes it on to the debtor’s employer.

Thereafter, the debtor’s income from that employer will be automatically garnished before it reaches the debtor. Garnishment is more common than many people realize with around 4 million Americans having their wages garnished during the year 2013, according to a study by Pro Publica. People with an income of between $15,000 and $40,000 are the most likely to have their wages garnished.

When a person’s wages are garnished, he or she might be able to negotiate with the creditor to establish a repayment plan outside of garnishment. They might also be able challenge the garnishment if the judgment was entered incorrectly or causes an undue burden on the debtor. Another option for people who are subject to wage garnishment in Iowa is to have the debt discharged through bankruptcy. A Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy may get rid of a person’s debts while still allowing them to keep important assets.

In a wage garnishment case, an Iowa attorney may be able to help by contacting the creditor and trying to negotiate a settlement on behalf of the client. An attorney might also help the client identify and organize assets prior to filing a petition to begin Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceedings. People must complete counseling and other requirements before their bankruptcies are complete.