When an individual has failed to pay his or her debts one of the “last resort” collection tools a creditor can use is to request that the court authorize a wage garnishment. This is also a tool commonly used by the government to collect past due taxes. A wage garnishment is a legal process through which a creditor can successfully collect upon a debt without having to rely on the debtor to make a payment. In cases where the court orders an individual’s wages to be garnished, the amount of the garnishment will be taken directly out of the individual’s paycheck prior to the check being issued. To help ensure an individual is not left without sufficient income to pay his or her bills there are limits set by Arizona law to dictate the amount and extent of wage garnishments.

If you suspect you are about to have your wages garnished, or you already have a wage garnishment order that has been issued against you, waste no time in contacting Dodge & Vega, PLC to seek counsel from one of our skilled bankruptcy attorneys. Whether your garnishment is as a result of credit card debt, past due alimony or child support payments, or back taxes, our attorneys will be able to advise you of the legal options available and help you determine how best to proceed. The attorneys at our firm have extensive experience with all types of finance-related issues. We understand what you are going through, and we are here to provide you with the aggressive representation you need. From start to finish, we will work with you closely with the objective of preventing your wages from being garnished or helping you get your wage garnishment orders lifted. This can often be accomplished very quickly, and for urgent cases, we move fast. Should you need to pursue the option of filing for bankruptcy we will use our 35 years combined experience to guide you through the entire process, and help you get the fresh start you rightfully deserve.

Bankruptcy can send chills down anyone’s spine, that is, if you don’t properly understand what it actually means. In the event of a person or business being unable to pay off their debt, a person will often resort to bankruptcy as a means of salvation from their financial troubles. Unfortunately, there are also many
myths floating around about bankruptcy that will often keep people in need from actually going through with it. Bankruptcy may just be the best option for you, consider some of these myths to see if they have been keeping you from taking that next step towards riding yourself of debt.

One of the main concerns people have when weighing the option to file for bankruptcy is that once you file, your credit will be ruined forever. The important thing to understand if you are in this situation is that your credit is already in ruins! If you are in deep amounts of debt it is likely that you have already missed many payments on your credit cards, each time you miss a payment you credit score in negatively affected. A way to view your bad credit is that there is a lot to pay off, but with discipline it is possible. The other option is realizing it would be impossible to get out of this large debt, which means filing for bankruptcy is your best option. Individuals that think bankruptcy will disappear if they leave it alone or ignore it have it all wrong, the longer you wait to act the worse your credit score will be.

Another myth about bankruptcy is that only irresponsible people file for bankruptcy, and that is not the case! Experienced, hardworking individuals who held an honest job for thirty years can get laid off and be left to file for bankruptcy. By doing so doesn’t mean “loser” is stamped on your forehead, it just means that you have acknowledged you financial struggles and have chosen to take action, it is a step of humility, and a wise one at that. Unfortunately many struggling families assume that if they file for bankruptcy it will lead to a divorce because of the stress it will cause, this too is a myth.

While each family situation is unique, often times it is financial issues that lead to divorces; such as not paying your bills and acquiring debt. By filing for bankruptcy it is taking a proactive step to move forward. Bankruptcy is a step that is taken towards getting out of debt, and though it isn’t an overnight magic dust, it is effective; and may just save a marriage rather than break one. Commit as a family to work together in financial stress, and consider that while there are many horror stories about bankruptcy, it is important to seek truth and facts. Contact Dodge & Vega today for legal advice regarding your concerns about bankruptcy, it is the next step towards debt freedom!

Bankruptcy protection usually begins and ends with the Automatic Stay. Basically when a person files for bankruptcy the automatic stay is the protection that automatically kicks in and prevents creditors from seizing property, collecting against judgments, garnishing wages, foreclosing on your house, etc. It is like an invisible force field that protects you from your creditors as long as it remains intact.

Your bankruptcy protection can quickly fade if a creditor files a Motion for Relief From the Automatic Stay. This is a simple motion wherein the bankruptcy court is asked for permission from a creditor to proceed with some sort of collection action notwithstanding you filed a bankruptcy. For example, in a chapter 7 bankruptcy you must be current with your mortgage in order to retain that property. If you are late and your file a chapter 7 bankruptcy then your mortgage lender will likely file a motion for relief from the automatic stay to continue with a foreclosure proceeding. They can do this because the bankruptcy rules require that you be current with all of your secured debts (i.e. a house) which you intend on retaining otherwise the lenders are allowed to take them back again. But before they can take them back they must ask the court for permission and cite the bankruptcy rule which allows them to do so. This process is all done in filing a motion for relief from the automatic stay.

Thus your bankruptcy protection begins with automatic stay when your case is filed and can quickly end if a creditor is successful in getting relief from the automatic stay. Its always good to seek out professional help to eliminate the potential mistakes in your case and to ensure that your bankruptcy is prepared properly.

In 2005 the bankruptcy law was revamped to its current form. Periodically, the rules that govern bankruptcy are reviewed and tweaked. On December 1, 2011, some of those tweaks took effect. In chapter 7 and chapter 13 cases, creditors will feel the greatest effect with the new changes.

Creditors filing proofs of claim in bankruptcy cases will not be required to file documentation to support the amounts they are claiming, as opposed to a simple summary. Creditors must include all charges that are included in the claim. Creditors who hold a security interest (like a mortgage) must disclose the amount of any default at the time of filing. Mortgage creditors must also attach documentation proving the security interest and an escrow statement if an escrow account exists on the property.

Mortgage creditors will also be required to file with the Court any changes in mortgage payments, regardless of the reason. They must also serve on a debtor an itemized statement of any post-petition charges, including late fees, NSF charges or attorney fees. Along with the new requirements for mortgage creditors, the trustee in a chapter 13 case must file a notice of the final cure payment being made to a mortgage lender. The mortgage lender then has 21 days to dispute that notice.

If you have any questions regarding these changes and how it may affect your bankruptcy case, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We always look forward to helping in any way we can.

Effective December 1st, 2011 the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure have been amended. Some of tehse amendments will yet need exploring as to the implications they may have on the debtor filing bankruptcy. Some are more important for creditors and offer the debtors more protection. The most notable rule amendments in my opinion for the common debtor are Rules: 3001, 3002.1, and 4004. A link to a brief summary of the rule changes are found directly on the Court’s Website.

It is important that you get qualified advice on these rule changes and how they may affect your case. We look forward to serving you.


Benjamin L. Dodge, Esq.

Dodge & Vega, PLC


We are pleased to announce the launch of our new Arizona Attorney Blog and RSS feed here!

I competed in my 3rd Ironman triathlon a few days ago on November 5th in Panama City Florida. 140.6 miles in 15 hours and 40 minutes. The swim of 2.4 miles was actually pretty calm compared to the crushing waves of the day before. However, there was the matter of a decent tide constantly pulling you off course and the minefield of jellyfish we had to swim through. A lady I met out on the bike course later during the race told me she hit one of these jellyfish with her face. She said it was 10 minutes of “______” (fill in the bank) and then she was able to keep going. They warned of us of these jellyfish at the start of the race. But seriously, they were everywhere and no warning could have been sufficient to prepare us for that!

The bike was absolutely rough. Although flat, the 112 mile bike ride was windy – very windy! I was racing with Zipp 404 tubular tires. I had a flat at about mile 56. I used every bit of “Pit Stop” and compressed air I had trying to fix about 3-4 times. Finally about mile 96 I was able to get a hold of bike support to switch out my entire back wheel. But I swear – 40 miles of riding in the wind with a flat tire was horrible. Definitely took a toll on my legs as well as my overall time.

Finally finishing the bike portion of this race I transitioned as quickly as possible to the run and tried to remember why I was out there – because at this point I felt just a bit angry at my bike experience. A couple of miles into the 26.3 mile full marathon run my legs finally felt like they were there again and the run went as most runs do for me at Ironman. Run… walk… then run some more, walk some more, take a break at an aid station… run a bit more, then walk some more, etc. I’ve never been a good runner. But at this race I definitely it my personal best with a faster run time than ever before. I really pushed it and when I finally came across the finish line I felt like weak. Next thing I know I am stumbling into some volunteers and then its lights out. I passed out and came to in the medical tent. 45 minutes later they released me and then it was time for bed!

Love Ironman.

Pre Race Picture

Team Dodge Vega consists of our two attorneys, Ben Dodge and Bacho Vega. Our first triathlon as team Dodge Vega was at Anthem Arizona 2009. Team Dodge Vega made a decent showing with both Ben Dodge and Bacho Vega finishing in the top 50% of their brackets. Triathlon training has become a favorite early morning practice for Ben Dodge and Bacho Vega. It has allowed for greater focus and clarity in the practice of law. There is focus in setting and achieving goals. The training time allows for several hours in the early morning to reflect on the firm and clients. The ultimate goal for Team Dodge Vega is to compete in Saint George Ironman May 1st, 2010. At this point Team Dodge Vega is registered for the great challenge of Saint George Ironman and training is well underway.

Ben Dodge Crossing Finish Line

Bacho Vega Crossing the Finish Line


Bankruptcy is an area of the law that requires focus. As your bankruptcy attorneys we know how to focus on setting and achieving difficult goals. We are extremely goal oriented at Dodge & Vega and utilize goal setting and goal achieving in our our daily lives as well. “The man is what he does in his spare time.” An Ironman Triathlon is the most grueling of endurance sports. It is a 2.4 mile swim followed by a 112 mile bike ride followed by a full marathon of a 26.2 mile run. Both Bacho Vega and Ben Dodge have signed up and begun training for the Saint George Ironman on May 1st 2010. We have enjoyed these videos very much and hope you can find the inspiration in them as well.

Rick & Dick Hoyt

Rick & Dick Hoyt part II