If your wages are being garnished, or you fear they soon will be, filing for bankruptcy can stop the garnishment in most cases. In the majority of cases, a creditor has an unpaid balance owed to them, collection efforts have been unsuccessful, and now they are using the legal system to get the money they are owed.
Most creditors cannot garnish your wages without filing a law suit in court. Once that law suit is filed, a debtor will have the ability to appear in court and contest the suit filed. However, in most cases, the debt is due and owing and there is rarely an argument to make. If you are unable to start paying this creditor, or you fail to start making payments, the creditor will more than likely start the garnishment process.
The wage garnishment process can take some time. There are certain documents that need to be filed with the court and there are specified amounts of time that must pass before the garnishment can take effect. However, once the garnishment is in effect, the creditor has the right to take up to 25% of your paycheck.
Filing for bankruptcy can stop this. Once we file your case, something called an “automatic stay” is imposed on all of your creditors. If you take these words literally, your creditors are made to stay put until further notice from the court. This rule has some limitations. Child support collections, for example, will not be stopped. However, outside of limited situations, the filing of the bankruptcy will stop the garnishment and discharge any remaining obligation to pay on the debt that was being collected.
Often times our clients have more questions than what was discussed in this short article. If you have more questions about the wage garnishment process and what might take place, please feel free to contact our office and we will be more than happy to discuss this with you.