Protection against Wage Garnishment, Liens, and Levies

Posted on in Debt Relief

Illinois bankruptcy attorneyIn the midst of financial difficulties, it can be hard enough just to meet your daily costs and expenses. Paying for your rent or mortgage, providing food for your family, and paying utility expenses may take up the majority of your income, causing you to fall behind in your other debts. Unfortunately, banks and credit card companies may resort to wage garnishment and liens on your accounts as a way of recouping their money. Bankruptcy can offer protection from creditors in these situations, protecting your income while helping you get back on your feet.

When Wage Garnishment Is Used

When you owe outstanding amounts on a credit card, loan, or other debt, and other avenues for obtaining payment have been exhausted, the company you owe money to has the option of taking you to court. They can request a judgment ordering payments be deducted from your paycheck until the past due amount is paid in fall.

Under the Illinois Wage Assignment Act, this judgment may be issued to your employers if you have been in default of the debt for more than forty days. The judgment will list the total amount you owe, the amount that is requested to be withheld, and the length of time the wage assignment will be in place. Up to 15 percent of your wages may be deducted during each pay period. Generally, short of quitting your job, there are only three ways to stop a wage assignment:

  • Pay the full amount of the debt;
  • Offer a repayment plan; and
  • File for Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy.

As wage assignments are generally issued in cases in which the person does not have the money to pay, the first two options are likely not feasible. Filing for bankruptcy can put an immediate stop to these and other collection actions while allowing you to either reorganize or eliminate the debt completely.

Levies and Liens Against Accounts and Property

Other options for obtaining payments on past due amounts include obtaining a lien or levy against your property or accounts. Often used in cases of outstanding taxes or hospital bills, these also require a court order, and any amount owed will likely include court costs, interest, and penalties.

The Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) is one of several agencies that routinely use court-ordered levies and liens to obtain money owed:

  • A lien against your home or other property appears on your credit report and means that you cannot sell the property until the debt is paid.
  • A levy against your financial accounts gives the debt collection agency the right to seize any available assets or funds you possess.

As with wage assignment, bankruptcy is often the only way to remove a lien or prevent a levy.

As these actions often occur with little advance notice, it is important to contact the Law Offices of Eric G. Zelazny to address the situation as soon as possible. Our passionate Tinley Park bankruptcy attorneys can advise you on the best course of action, to help ensure your rights are protected while you regain your financial footing. Reach out to us to request a consultation today.




20 North Clark Street, Suite 800
Chicago, Illinois 60602
18400 Maple Creek Drive, Suite 500
Tinley Park, Illinois 60477