Collections Law/Garnishment

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Question
I will try to give you the important details, without getting too carried away.

My husband and I are in our early 50's.  He works at a gro. store as a stocker.  I am unable to work due to several health problems (awaiting results of hearing for SSDisability).  

We struggle to keep health insurance because of all my problems.  We have a terrible time trying to pay all the hospitals, labs, drs etc after ins. has paid.  I was raised being told that they "had" to take what you paid them.  We learned this year that is not true.  My husband grosses about 20k a year.  He has no retirement.  A large chunk of his pay goes to pay for medicines/supplies for us both.  We spend hundreds on meds each month.

We have NOTHING to sell ---- no home, no land, nothing.

So, one of the hospitals decided to sue and got a garnishment on my husband's paycheck.  I have had to skip buying most of my meds.  We had to ask for help with the rest.  That garnishment will be finished soon.          This week we have another hospital suing --- this time it is where we can go to the court hearing.  My husband spoke to the circuit clerk there and found out that my husband will speak to the hospital's lawyer first and if nothing is settled, it will go to the judge.

My wuestion is:  How do we go about proving that we truly cannot pay this bill?  Do we take lists of all our medications (I can print off the pharmacy lists that will show our yearly costs.)?  What about rent and utilities ---do we have to bring proof?  And gas/repairs on car ---- I don't keep gas receipts.

We hope to file Chap 7 as soon as we can figure out how to get the money.

Another question ----  I have been told by different attorneys that it is possible to get back at least some of the garnishment that has already been taken (given it is in time frame).  That would be a huge help for us!     But, the attorney we were hoping to use for bankruptcy, when we asked if it was possible, she just said no.     Could it be that she did not want to do all that extra work for what she was being paid?   Any suggestions?

Thank you for your help!!!

Emma

Answer
Hello Emma:    I only wish you had contacted me sooner so you could have stopped the judgment creditor from garnishing you from the start.   However, you are correct.   If you file quickly, you can get back part of the money that was already garnished (the creditor would have to "disgorge" part of what was taken)(.      As for the bankruptcy fees, under the cirscumstances you could possibly get a waiver of the filing fee because of your limited income.   Also, you may be able to get a waiver of the credit counseling fees.     As for attorney fees, I suspect that the attorneys you spoke with are wanting to charge you anywhere between 1 and 2 thousand dollars.     If I did a joint chapter 7 for you and your spouse, I would charge you 300 dollars.   That would include the bankruptcy itself and the request to the Court to order the disgorgement of some of the garnishment funds already taken.      (I have done bankruptcies in Arkansas before.)     


this would be much easier talking about on the phone, but you need to call me as soon as possible because of the pending garnishment and the other lawsuit.    You can call me anytime at this number.    915  261-3893       I will not charge you just to talk on the phone.    If you call me in the morning (Wednesday), it is possible that you could file this bankruptcy and put a stop to all of this before this week is over.

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