Unfortunately, many consumers do not deal with debt issues until they are facing a wage or bank garnishment. At this point the collector has already obtained a judgment against you, knows where you work or where you bank, and may know how much you make or how much is in your bank account. If you are not to this point yet, good! Contact the Johnson Law Firm for a free consultation so you don’t find yourself in this mess. If you have other debt, contact us so that debt does not end up this way.
If you are being garnished, your options are limited, but you may have some. If you have a lot of other debt, you should consult with a bankruptcy attorney. You might be able to settle the debt where you agree to payments and the creditor agrees to stop the garnishment. This option has drawbacks because the creditor will require you to first provide financial information that it will use to obtain additional money from you and it probably will not agree to take less than it can obtain by garnishment. If you were not served the lawsuit, we may be able to vacate the judgment. You can file a document with the court to get the amount you pay reduced for hardship, but keep in mind interest is still accruing on the judgment while you pay the reduced amount.
If you are facing a bank garnishment, you may be able to claim some or all of your income as exempt. Social Security is an example. You can exempt some wages even if they have been deposited in a bank account. You may also be able to exempt some or all of the funds in the bank account. Wage garnishments are limited as to the amount that can be garnished for judgments resulting from Iowa consumer credit transactions.
It is generally not known, or it is known but generally ignored by creditors and lenders, but judgments resulting from consumer credit transactions for the most part are NOT liens on real estate in Iowa if that real estate is a person’s homestead. Yes, that is correct. The bank, lender or creditor who tells you this judgment must be paid because it is a lien on a homestead is (to put it politely) giving you erroneous information. Iowa law and a controlling case by the Iowa Supreme Court state clearly the judgment is not a lien on a homestead.