It’s hard enough to dig yourself out of debt when you are receiving a full paycheck. When your wages are being garnished, it can feel impossible to return to get out of the red.

If you have a judgment against you, Oregon law allows a creditor to issue an order to garnish your wages to help satisfy your debt. Creditors do this with something called a writ of garnishment. It must be issued by a court, an Oregon attorney or a child support administrator. Your employer has seven days to respond. Generally ,there’s not a lot your employer can do about it. Your employer must inform you of what’s going on, calculate any exemptions and take the garnishment out of your paycheck in order to pay off your debt to the creditor.

Sometimes, an employee will have multiple garnishments. In this case, your employer takes a first-come, first-served approach. If there’s any money in your paycheck left over after your exemptions and your first garnishment, then the second garnishment gets the next cut.

Needless to say, wage garnishment can lead to an impossible situation if you have multiple debts. You may feel you will never be able to pay off your credit card debt because your wages are being garnished for your child support payments or other debts. Chapter 13 bankruptcy offers a good way to get out of this awful situation.

If you qualify for it, as soon as you apply for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection, the bankruptcy court will issue a stay that puts an immediate stop to most types of creditor enforcement actions against you, including most types of wage garnishment.

Chapter 13 gives you a chance to put the brakes on everything while you and the court develop a plan to get you out of debt. If all goes according to plan, you will be able to eliminate most types of debt within three to five years. The court may decide that garnishment will continue as part of your repayment plan, but it should help you organize your finances so that you can keep up with expenses. It’s in everyone’s interests that you succeed. If you are able to comply with the plan, at the end of your repayment period, the court may waive much or all of any remaining debt.