Fonfrias, a recognized authority who defends consumers against creditor lawsuits, tax liens, and foreclosures, has released a report entitled How to Defend Yourself in a Citation to Discover Assets (Citation to Discover Assets).
The debtor must remember four points:
- The court requires the debtor to appear and answer questions. Otherwise, he could be arrested, fined and jailed.
- The debtor must tell the truth or risk being charged with perjury.
- The debtor’s legally exempt assets cannot be seized.
- The debtor should not agree to a court-ordered installment plan unless he knows he can make all the payments. If he misses even one, he could be jailed.
Garnishing Wages: If the debtor fails to pay the judgment, the creditor can get a wage garnishment where the debtor’s employer deducts money from his paycheck and sends it directly to the creditor.
The employer can withhold only part of the debtor’s wages. The employer must pay him 45 times the state or federal minimum wage, whichever is greater. If the debtor earns less than this amount, then none of his wages can be deducted.
Employer Retaliation: The employer cannot fire or suspend the debtor because of one wage garnishment. However, if the debtor has two or more creditors garnishing his wages, then the law no longer protects him from termination or suspension.
Garnishment of Non-Wages: In addition to the debtor’s wages, a creditor can seize non-exempt money that belongs to or is owed to the debtor. In most cases, a non-wage garnishment seizes money from a bank account. However, the money can also come from a third party, such as a bank or insurance company.
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