Consumer Law Office of
Robert Stempler, APLC


Providing Legal Counsel for
Consumers in
California’s Courts

1-888-367-4790

• Collection Lawsuits
• Credit Card Debt
• Medical Collection
• Student Loan Lawsuit
Serving California Consumers
Client testimonials cannot predict results in any other case, nor is any testimonial considered an average or likely outcome.
Client testimonials cannot predict results in any other case, nor is any testimonial considered an average or likely outcome.
Client testimonials cannot predict results in any other case, nor is any testimonial considered an average or likely outcome.
Back to Articles

Exemptions After Judgment

If a judgment has been entered, the debt collection attorneys may start enforcing the judgment against you. For instance, the attorneys may use the judgment to notify your employer to withhold / garnish your wages, have your bank attach the funds in your accounts, have your broker attach personal investments, and place a lien against your home and other real estate.

Federal law specifies the amount to be garnished. When your employer is notified of the wage garnishment, they receive instructions containing a schedule of the amount to withhold. The employer may not withhold any part of your paycheck below the Federal minium wage per pay period, based on a 30-hour work week, which the schedule clearly explains. The amount that can be withheld is limited to 25% of your disposable income (your net paycheck after taxes and certain other deductions).

The court has the power to lower the amount to be taken, which is referred to as an exemption. You must apply for an exemption, often through the sheriff or marshal handling the wage garnishment or writ of attachment. The instructions explain how to file a claim of exemption, which form is available from the California Judicial Councils web site. The debt collection attorney may oppose or not oppose your exemption. If they oppose your claim of exemption, the court will set a hearing date and notify you to appear.

The claim of exemption form along with the financial statement form should demonstrate a legitimate financial hardship. Other expensessuch as dependents or the cost of food, medical care, and sheltermay convince the judge to grant your claim of exemption. Many judges, however, will deny your claim, if your only reason is lack of proper service of the summons and complaint, which resulted in a default judgment. The proper way to dispute a default judgment is retain a lawyer and file a motion to set aside default judgment.

Court rules prohibit filings that seek the same relief as previously requested, except in limited circumstances. The courts expect individuals and attorneys to know what they are doing the first time, so as not to waste the courts time with repetitive requests. When you file anything with the court, always check that it is correct, complete, and properly executed. If you need to set aside a default judgment, be sure to hire an attorney who has successfully filed such motions numerous times. Correctly setting aside a default judgment is challenging and has several requirements that can be overlooked or done incorrectly. The court may prohibit a second request, even if you did it yourself or an inexperienced lawyer made a mistake.

Back to Articles