Understanding Debtor Rights in Indiana and Kentucky

Because of past abuses by companies against individuals and families, federal and state governments enacted laws to create protections against unfair, invalid, and overly aggressive debt collection. Unfortunately, debt is a normal and essential part of living and working in the United States today, such that a debtor rights lawyer may be necessary to protect you.

If you call on an Evansville debtors’ rights attorney, it is likely you have fallen behind in medical bills, credit card bills, personal loans, or auto loans. This is common in a distressed economy, often because at least one household wage earner has lost his or her job, resulting in reduced overall income.

When necessary, a debtors’ rights lawyer in Evansville can help with Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 bankruptcy. But those are not the only ways to manage debt. A debtor rights attorney can help stop overly aggressive and invalid debt collection before your household financial condition reaches the point of requiring a bankruptcy filing.

When to call on a debtor rights attorney

The Evansville debtor rights lawyers of Dunlap & Nesmith, LLC practice law in both Indiana and Kentucky. If you need help with debts, we protect your rights in several ways:

  • Bill collectors have to show documentation. If the original creditors lack a contract or agreement proving the debt is valid, the debt may not be legally collectible
  • Third-party debt collection agencies operate according to a separate set of rules. For example, they must provide documentation just as would the original creditor. You need to file the documentation properly, and you are due proper advance notice of their role in the collection process
  • If proper documentation cannot be produced, the creditor might pay your your attorney fees. In Indiana, your debtor attorney fees might be covered if you can prove to the court that the debt collector operated without proper documentation
  • Harassing collection tactics are prohibited. Collection calls cannot happen late at night or early in the morning, be made to your place of employment, or contain threats
  • Seventy-five percent of your wages are protected from liens. Even if a judgment on debt has been rendered against you in favor of a creditor, such that the creditor can garnish your wages, the garnishment cannot exceed 25 percent of your take-home pay or 30 times the minimum wage, whichever is greater. Larger percentages can be collected for child support, federal and state taxes, and court-ordered bankruptcy payments
  • Not all income is subject to garnishment. You cannot have any portion of the following taken as a garnishment:
    • public assistance
    • social security
    • unemployment insurance
    • veterans’ benefits
    • workers’ compensation
    • certain retirement and disability benefits
    • most child support

The federal government guarantees most of these rights, with some state laws enhancing protections of the debtor. Qualified legal counsel can help you determine your best course of defense against illegal collection action.