For a creditor to garnish your wages, he or she must file and win a lawsuit against you for a debt you owe. Once the garnishment begins occurring, it is not easy to stop it. There is one option, though, which is to file for bankruptcy, and here are a few things to understand about wage garnishment and bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy stops garnishment through the automatic stay
After your lawyer files the bankruptcy documents with the court, the court will instantly issue an order that prevents creditors from contacting the person who filed, and this is called an automatic stay. This order also stops a wage garnishment from occurring. If you have a wage garnishment in place right now, filing for bankruptcy will stop the garnishment right away.
The automatic stay does not stop every type of garnishment
It is important to understand that there are limits to the automatic stay, though. In other words, it will not stop every type of garnishment from occurring, and one of the most common ones it will not stop is a garnishment for child support. It will also not stop a garnishment for alimony or any other type of court-ordered debt.
How your employer finds out about the automatic stay
If you decide to file and have a garnishment that the automatic stay will stop, you do not have to notify your employer about this, even though it is your employer that is taking the money from your check. The court will actually notify all your creditors and let them know that they must stop their efforts trying to collect money from you. When your creditor gets this letter, they must notify your employer. In fact, your employer cannot stop the garnishment until the creditor notifies them to stop.
The results after the automatic stay ends
The automatic stay you receive will only last for several months in a Chapter 7 case, as it will end when you receive a discharge. In Chapter 13, it will last for the entire time you have your repayment plan. In either case, though, the automatic stay will end, and this could affect the garnishment. If the debt for the garnishment was discharged in your case, you will never have to pay the debt again. The court will forgive the amount and wipe it away. If the bankruptcy discharge did not eliminate the debt, the creditor can resume garnishing your wages once your automatic stay ends.
Ending wage garnishment is often possible through Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, and you can learn more about both branches by visiting a website like georgettemillerlaw.com.