What to do if a judge is telling me to pay $80 per month or be in contempt but my income has fallen below the threshold of garnishment?

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What to do if a judge is telling me to pay $80 per month or be in contempt but my income has fallen below the threshold of garnishment?

The municipal court judge is telling me to pay $80 per month or be in contempt and go to jail. My income has fallen below the threshold of wage garnishment or any form of debt collection. Other judges have allowed me to make payments of $40 or smaller. If the judge refuses to lower the payment, what else can I do to get lower payments or defer payment until my income rises? If I can prove that I meet standards for financial inability to pay, can the judge still find me in contempt?

Asked on December 22, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Oregon

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Rather than deal with a seemingly difficult judge who does not understand your financial condition, perhaps you can enter into a written monthly payment plan with the judgment creditor. If you do that, then your issue with the judge that you have written about is resolved.

However, if you cannot enter into a written monthly agreement with the judgment creditor, you will have to submit some documentation to the judge showing that your income has fallen below the minimum amount for a wage garnishment. Perhaps a letter from your employer will help.

For the judge to find you in contempt of an order, an order must first be issued and then you must knowingly disobey it. I suspect that the judge you have written about is simply trying to pressure you.


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