I have been summoned to have my wages garnished by a 3rd party debt collector for an account that is over 6 yrs old, is this legal? Also, if it is, I do not want my wages garnished and would rather settle, how do I proceed now that this is involved in court?
3 Answers from Attorneys
A garnishment means you lost a case and a judgment was entered. The statute of limitations issue (if there was one) is over as it is an issue for trial. If you want to settle, call the lawyer for the creditor. You'll to offer something much better and more secure for them than a garnishment.
A garnishment happens after you lose a court case. There is no statute of limitations on that court judgment. It lasts for 7 years from when you lost and can be renewed. If you want to stop the garnishment, see a lawyer to file bankruptcy or offer a lump sum big enough so they won't want to the garnishment.
You have not been "summoned" to have your wages garnished. You have been sued and a judgment has been entered against you because you ignored the lawsuit. You have just been given notice of the garnishment. You can file a traverse but the grounds for that are very limited. The only real way to stop it, other than settling, is to file bankruptcy or get the judgment opened.
Wage garnishment is legal in GA. The creditor can garnish up to 25% of your disposable pay.
The statute of limitations in GA for GA credit card debts is 6 years. But you do not recite the relevant details. It does not matter how old the account is or how long it has been open. It could be a 20 year old account. For statute of limitations purposes, the relevant time is the date of your last payment and the date on which the lawsuit was filed. If that is 6 years or less, the lawsuit is timely.
Once entered, the judgment can be enforced after 30 days. Judgments are good for 7 years from the date of entry unless revived.
It has been my experience that once wage garnishment begins, the creditor may be loathe to settle at all. And why should they settle? They know they can get 100% of the debt via wage garnishment.
If settling is what you want to do, then contact the law firm and make an offer to them, but you should have at least 50% of the funds available to settle in a lump sum. And any settlement will be based on what the balance on the judgment is as of now, not what was sought in the initial lawsuit. Assuming that a settlement is reached, I would demand that the law firm send you a settlement letter outlining the terms and that the settlement will be accepted in full satisfaction of the judgment and that after the settlement funds clear, the FiFa and wage garnishment will be cancelled and the judgment marked satisfied. Once you get the settlement letter, I would arrange to remit funds via a certified cashier's check. Make a copy before you send it and either hand deliver it to the law firm or send it via UPS or FedEx so you can track it. Do not use certified mail.
Or you can hire an attorney to settle for you. Please contact me at [email protected] if you are interested.