Leading up to bankruptcy, many debtors have had their wages garnished. This means that money is taken directly out of your paycheck without you ever seeing it to pay off your debts. This practice makes it very difficult for anyone to make ends meet, and carries the extra frustration of not allowing you to handle your own budget. A common question when considering bankruptcy is how quickly my wages will stop being garnished?
Wage Garnishment and the Automatic Stay
The good news is that bankruptcy brings with it something called the Automatic Stay. This means that the collection of all discharged debts should stop immediately upon filing bankruptcy. In fact, if collections continue you may be able to collect fines from the lenders. So typically collections on your debts should stop immediately after filing. This includes wages being garnished, assuming the debts were discharged through your bankruptcy.
Ask your attorney to get a clear timeline of when your debts will be discharged, when the automatic stay will be in place, and what impact that will have on your wages. You may learn that your wages will stop being garnished immediately after filing bankruptcy!
What if my Wages are still Garnished after Bankruptcy?
If you discharged your debts through bankruptcy, but you are still having your wages garnished, you should speak to your attorney. They can confirm that the debts were discharged, and that the creditor was alerted of the automatic stay. If so, the problem may simply be that your employer hasn’t processed the change to your pay check yet. With the help of your attorney, you can have any unlawfully collected payment returned to you.
You may find that ongoing inappropriate wage garnishment is a situation where you will be happy to have your attorney on call. Your relationship with your attorney may not end immediately after bankruptcy is filed, as problems like this are not unheard of after a bankruptcy filing.