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QUESTION: Quick question..........I had a judgement against me to garnish my wages, but the collector and I agreed on a payment plan ourselves,he ......I made the 1st payment and got layed off, 2nd payment is not due yet, I need to call him and let him know I got layed off.......I do not own a house, I do not have a savings, I do not have any IRS~s,or work Roths, or any investments...... I do not have 1 penny except what I will get from unemployment.....Can he garnish unemployment?

ANSWER: Generally speaking, no, unless the judgment is for support or a few other categories.  If it's for an ordinary credit card or like debt, he shouldn't be able to.  In any event, the creditor would need to get another order to garnish a payment from a government entity as opposed to a private employer.

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QUESTION: Thank You for your answer. It is for a credit card.   I will call him and explain to him that I was layed off, I have a feeling since he might try to convince me I HAVE to keep our agreement and that he will lower the monthly repayment amount.      What do I say to him if he tries to threaten me, and all sorts of things you hear that debt collectors say that are not true.   Should I send him  letter first? Certified?

I would just call.  If he threatens you, then just tell him that he is acting improperly by doing so and that if he doesn't stop, you'll write a letter to him, detailing what he has done.  You could then use it if he tries to garnish you (although I'm not sure how he would do that).

What you could do is tell him that you would be happy to adhere to the agreement once you get a job, but that on employment you can't affordto pay.

Just remember that you can always file for bankruptcy, although that would probably not be much of a real option since you don't have assets.  Yes, he can garnish you if you get another job, but then he has to keep active and learn where your new job is.  So cooperation may work better for him.

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Michael T. Hertz


I can answer most questions concerning bankruptcy, whether business or personal, including questions by debtors, creditors, persons interested in purchasing assets from bankruptcy estates, and the like. Also have expertise in tort law, French and Canadian law.


Practiced bankruptcy for 27 years in California and taught bankruptcy for three years in Maine. This included Chapters 7, 9, 11, 12 and 13 cases, representing debtors, creditors (secured and unsecured), bankruptcy trustees, creditors committees, and persons interested in purchasing assets from bankruptcies. Debtors included persons with virtually no money up to large corporations.

Inactive member of the Bar of the State of California. Nonpracticing member of the Bar of Massachusetts. Formerly member of the Maine Bar and conseil juridique in France. Certified by National Committee on Accreditation in Canada.

Georgetown Law Review; California Bankruptcy Journal; Maine Law Review; Dalhousie Law Journal; University of Toronto Law Journal.

Harvard Law School (J.D. 1970; cum laude) and Pomona College (B.A., 1967; cum laude)

Awards and Honors
Selected as a "Superlawyer" in 2005 and 2006 for Northern California.

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