Thankful to be back to work, but still struggling with debt? - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Business

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Thankful to be back to work, but still struggling with debt?

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Denise Aguilar

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Posted: Wednesday, September 7, 2011 9:00 am

It appears that the job market is taking a turn for the better. It may be turning very slowly, but it does seem to be improving. Where a few years ago I saw so many clients who had just lost jobs or closed businesses, I am now seeing clients who have become re-employed or are getting more side work and on their way to more stable self-employment.

This may relieve some stress since they are now able to cover necessary living expenses: Rent, utilities and groceries, but any length of unemployment can be devastating when it comes to credit card debt, car loans, high mortgage payments, medical bills, and the like. When a person has limited resources, those resources necessarily go towards the basic needs for survival and the rest just has to wait.

So, many of the newly re-employed find themselves in a situation where they are happy to be back to work, but now they worry about garnishment of wages by creditors who went unpaid during the time of unemployment.

It is a valid concern. When a creditor obtains a judgment against a person, the creditor can take 25 percent of their take-home pay.

The creditor can also seize bank accounts and place a lien against property belonging to the person owing money. It is a daunting situation that all too often is ignored until it is too late.

There are ways to address the problem, but taking the first step to investigate the best path is critical. Becoming fully educated about the pros and cons of all options is the only way to know that the situation is being handled in the most beneficial manner.

Consult with an attorney experienced in consumer issues like debt settlement and/or bankruptcy to see what viable options exist. Unfortunately there are times when none of the options are very appealing, but they can ultimately resolve the problem. Other times the answer is clear. It just takes a fresh pair of eyes to see the situation clearly.

• Ahwatukee Foothills resident Denise Aguilar is a local attorney whose bankruptcy practice focuses in consumer and small business bankruptcy. Reach her at (480) 455-1881 or visit for more information on the Aguilar Law Firm, P.C.

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