How does a wage garnishment in Tennessee work?  How can you stop it?  I’ll answer these questions in this video.

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Video Transcript

Hello, this is Darrell Castle.  I’m an attorney licensed to practice law in the state of Tennessee and today on this video I’m talking about wage garnishment in Tennessee.

Wage garnishment is a process where by a person that you owe money to, the creditor, can attach your wages, your paycheck, a portion of it anyway – up to 25% of what you earn – by court process.  In other words, he files a lawsuit, he gets a judgement.  That’t just a piece of paper signed by a judge that gives him permission to go after your wages, to attach your wages. And that is the way it works.

And you’ll find that when that judge signs that order, the debt will be much higher than it was before.  The attorney is entitled to a fee.  The attorney who collects is entitled to a fee usually about one-third the total debt plus there are court costs that attach, so the debt will be much higher.

So, this process by itself can drive you deeper and deeper into debt and it’s very difficult to pay it back by having 25% of your wages taken – an amount you normally won’t be able to afford.

There are ways you can stop this from happening.  Of course, you can go to court and defend yourself at the hearing.  You can argue to the judge that you don’t owe the debt.  But if you really do owe the debt or you don’t have any proof you don’t owe it, then why go through that process?

You can also file a bankruptcy.  A chapter 7, which is a total discharge of the debt, meaning you would never have to pay the debt back.  The debt is legally dissolved or discharged.

A chapter 13 is a reorganization and repayment of the debt over a period of time and you have to pay back a portion of it.  That portion, which you can afford to pay based on a formula comparing your income and expenses and showing an income amount left after all your living expenses are paid.  So, you pay back a portion that you can afford to pay – that’s chapter 13.

So those are two ways that you can resolve a wage garnishment in Tennessee at any time before the lawsuit is filed, before it gets to your employer, or after – whichever.