$9,000 Credit Card Lawsuit
Large credit card debt - justified - I definitly owe it. The law firm will only accept a lump sum payment of 80% - or they stated they will proceed with the lawsuit. Since this is not a small claims suit due to amt. owed - they stated they will win an immediate Judgement - which I can understand. But is it true that they will then IMMEDIATELY INITIATE 10% BI-WEEKLY WAGE GARNISHMENT? Also informed me to expect the Sheriff to serve me at my WORKPLACE. I became ill and will always be on FMLA. I cannot come up with those funds - only $200 in monthly payments. Is there anything that I can do to stop the automatic wage garnishment? Thank you
1 Answer from Attorneys
Re: $9,000 Credit Card Lawsuit
#1 The court will, in the absence of convincing proof of your ability to pay more, order you to pay $35.00 per week. If you make those payments (and you can usually reach an agreement with the attorney's office to pay $70 biweekly or $150/monthly, because it simplifies the bookkeeping), they CANNOT garnish your wages, attach your bank account, repo your car, or do anything else to interfere with your daily life.
#2 If you own your home, they can place a lien on it, which means that you may be required to pay off the judgment when you sell it or refinance your mortgage (although the amount might be negotiable, even then).
#3 If you file bankruptcy, under state law you can exempt up to $75,000 EQUITY in your interest in your home (i.e., if you are married your wife also gets a $75K exemption), which should pretty much blow this creditor away.
#4 VERY IMPORTANT: You mention being paid under FMLA, which I take to mean Family Medical Leave Act. You should know that certain kinds of disability-based and retirement-based income is EXEMPT from execution to satisfy debts. This is a full-time state law, not a bankruptcy law. I just DON'T KNOW whether FMLA pay continuation for personal disability qualifies for the exemption, but it might. This would mean they could NEVER attach your salary, even if you didn't make the $35/wk payments. YOU NEED TO CONSULT A CONSUMER LAW/DISABILITY LAW SPECIALIST FOR THIS QUESTION. I suggest you contact the Waterbury Bar Association or the New Haven or Litchfield County Bar Associations for assistance in finding one.