Lowell, MA asked in Consumer Law for Massachusetts

Q: I have some old debt from 2008 - can a collector garnish my wages?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Christopher Tolley
Christopher Tolley
  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Boston, MA
  • Licensed in Massachusetts

A: In order to obtain a wage attachment, the creditor must have a judgment against you. The creditor is required to file a new lawsuit based on the judgment and appear before a judge to ask permission for a wage attachment. The creditor is required to give you written notice of the time date and place of the hearing. If the judge allows the motion for wage attachment, a portion of your wages is exempt from attachment. This article is a little long but explains the exemptions pretty well: https://www.nclc.org/images/pdf/pr-reports/new-law-protects-cars-wages-bank-accounts.pdf. As you can see, there are a number of steps the creditor has to take in order to obtain a wage attachment.

Also, the statute of limitations for most debt in Massachusetts is six years, so if the debt has not been reduced to a judgment, there is a good possibility that the creditor is not permitted to file suit to collect the debt and therefore is prevented from seeking a wage attachment. The creditor is required to advise you that suit on the debt may be barred by the statute of limitations, so check the paperwork you receive from the collector carefully.

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