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Bankruptcy’s impact on wage garnishment

On Behalf of | Jun 9, 2023 | Bankruptcy

Facing wage garnishment can be a stressful experience. When an individual’s financial situation becomes unmanageable, bankruptcy can often be a valid option to consider.

While bankruptcy carries its own set of challenges and implications, it also offers some advantages, particularly when it comes to stopping wage garnishment.

Basics of wage garnishment

Wage garnishment occurs when a court orders an employer to withhold a certain amount of an employee’s salary to repay a debt. This usually happens when a person defaults on a debt payment and the creditor decides to take legal action to recover the owed money.

Bankruptcy and its role in stopping wage garnishment

Filing for bankruptcy can indeed stop wage garnishment. When an individual files for bankruptcy, an automatic stay comes into effect immediately. This stay prevents most creditors from pursuing collection activities, including wage garnishments.

Effectiveness of the automatic stay

The automatic stay is one of the most powerful tools in bankruptcy. It not only stops wage garnishment but also puts a pause on most other debt-collection activities. As long as the automatic stay is in effect, creditors must cease garnishing wages. This rule applies to both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings.

Bankruptcy exemptions

It is worth noting that the automatic stay does not apply to all types of debt. Certain obligations, such as child support and alimony, are immune to the effects of an automatic stay. Thus, wage garnishments for these obligations will continue even after filing for bankruptcy.

Previously garnished wages

While bankruptcy stops future wage garnishments, it does not always help recover wages that creditors have already garnished. However, in certain circumstances, it may be possible to recover a part of the garnished wages, especially if the individual files for bankruptcy soon after the garnishment.

Life post-bankruptcy

It is crucial to remember that while bankruptcy can provide relief from wage garnishment, it is not a long-term solution to financial problems. Post-bankruptcy, individuals should focus on rebuilding their financial standing through careful budgeting and prudent financial decision-making.

It is important to fully understand the implications, as well as the potential benefits, before proceeding with a bankruptcy filing. Always remember, bankruptcy can be a fresh start towards financial stability, not just a means to stop wage garnishment.