What Should I Know about Wage Garnishment and Bankruptcy?

Wage garnishment is a term that frightens many people facing financial hardship. This is due in part to people not fully understanding how wage garnishment works.

If a person owes a debt and is unable to pay it of his or her own accord, and he or she has a steady income from an employer, wages can be garnished. This means a payment to the lender is taken from the person’s wages before a check is issued or the wages are automatically deposited into a bank account.

Wage garnishment is often ordered by the court system or the government, but it is also possible for a person to request his or her wages be garnished to ensure payments are made on time. The third party garnishing the wages is usually a person’s employer or bank. Wage garnishment is common among those filing for bankruptcy.

The most common types of debt that result in wage garnishment include:

• Tax default
• Child support
• Alimony
• Loan or credit card bill default
• Unpaid government fines

Is It Possible to Stop Wage Garnishment?

Yes. There are three ways to put an end to wage garnishment. The first is to repay the debt in full. The second is to allow the lender to take ownership of secured property associated with the debt. Finally, you can file for bankruptcy. There are instances in which filing for bankruptcy ends wage garnishment, but this is not always the case.

If wage garnishment occurs based on any of the following reasons, a permanent stoppage is highly unlikely:

• Back tax payments are owed to the government
• Child support
• Alimony payments
• Student Loan default

In most all other cases, filing bankruptcy will stop the wage garnishment. Remember, those filing Chapter 13 will stop the wage garnishment, but some type of plan payment to the trustee will have to be made as part of your bankruptcy plan. That payment is then distributed amongst qualifying creditors.

Understanding the rules of wage garnishment and defending your right to not have your wages garnished is a complicated process. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can help.

If you are faced with financial hardship and you believe bankruptcy might be able to help you put an end to your troubles, or you have questions about bankruptcy, contact the law office of Frank J. LaPerch, PC at 845.942.5500 to schedule a free consultation.

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