Tennessee residents who fall into debt will eventually find themselves being targeted and potentially even threatened by collection agencies. Commonly, these agencies will garnish your wages in order to collect your debt payments from you. This can have a hugely negative impact on your finances, especially if you're the primary financial support in your household. But can it be avoided?
In short, yes. Your first possible option is to look for exemptions to wage garnishment within your area. As FindLaw shows, wage garnishment exemptions differ from state to state, and certain types of exemptions may apply to your unique situation. For example, there's a limit on the amount of money that can be garnished from every paycheck if you're the main pillar of financial support in your family. If an exemption applies to you, you will first need to file a claim explaining why you believe the exemption applies. A judge will then look at your case to determine if you qualify.
The second way to avoid wage garnishment is by filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This is useful if you get into a situation where your debts are overwhelming, or if no exemptions apply to you. Under Chapter 7 bankruptcy, there is an automatic stay that keeps creditors from collecting while your case is being processed. This will give you the time you need to determine how you'll handle the situation.
Having your wages garnished affects every area of your life. However, there are ways to keep it from having a devastating impact while simultaneously giving you room to figure out how you may pay off your debts.