I Need Answers For: Wage Garnishments
Wage garnishments and being garnished can be a big problem. Your wages are probably needed to pay monthly bills like rent or mortgage, electric, groceries, and other essential expenses. If credit card payments and other obligations are not met then a wage garnishment may be ordered for these debts. If your income does not stretch far enough now the wage garnishment will just exaggerate this problem and make things worse.
An experienced bankruptcy attorney with the Richard West Law law firm can take certain steps that will stop any garnishment already in place, and prevent other creditors from taking this step in the first place. We can provide a free initial consultation so that you understand all of your options and find out whether bankruptcy is the right choice in your specific case.
Filing Chapter 7 or 13 Bankruptcy Will Stop Most Wage Garnishments
As soon as you fall behind on any payments for medical expenses, credit card accounts, and many other types of debt the creditor can sue you in court, get a judgment against you, and ask for a wage garnishment order to collect the debt you owe.
A wage garnishment will not be issued until a lawsuit is filed and the judge makes a decision in the case. Often the court papers delivered may not be easy to understand or make it clear that you are a defendant in a lawsuit brought by the creditor. If you do not attend the hearing then the judge will issue a default judgment in the case and this allows the creditor to request a wage garnishment.
After a judgment is entered in your case there is no further notice given about any collection actions taken. The first time that you may find out about a wage garnishment is when you receive your paycheck and realize it is for much less than expected.
Most wage garnishments can be stopped by filing for chapter 7 bankruptcy, but this is not always the case. Some debts that result in wage garnishment cannot be eliminated through bankruptcy and this includes child support, alimony, certain past due taxes, and a few other types. As soon as the bankruptcy petition is filed with the court all collection activities must stop due to the automatic stay, and this includes wage garnishments.
Medical debt, credit card debt, and most other debt can be eliminated with chapter 7 bankruptcy protection and wage garnishments for these debts will not be resumed after the bankruptcy court has discharged the case and the debts involved.
Immediate Action Can Stop Or Even Prevent Wage Garnishments
As soon as wage garnishments become a concern an experienced bankruptcy attorney should be contacted immediately. If wage garnishment starts and money is taken before you file for bankruptcy protection these funds will not be returned in most cases. There are steps you can take to protect your income and get a fresh financial start.