Wage garnishment is a collection tool used by many creditors when a debtor has defaulted on their account. Although garnishing wages is usually not the first line of collection attempts, many people may be affected by the process without knowing it. Once a creditor obtains a court order to garnish a debtor’s wages, there is often little the debtor can do in order to stop the garnishment quickly. In many cases, filing for bankruptcy is the only effective way to quickly halt a garnishment order.
Filing For Bankruptcy
Bankruptcy is not the only way to stop a wage garnishment, but it can be the most effective. The reason is that the bankruptcy process offers legal protection from creditors and collection efforts, giving the debtor the time to develop a plan for debt resolution. Outside of bankruptcy, creditors hold most of the power and can continue to pursue collections despite the debtor’s efforts to negotiate a repayment plan. Some debtors have found that their creditor is not willing to terminate the garnishment order and the issue then becomes a deeper legal matter.
Filing for bankruptcy offers immediate protection from wage garnishment. The automatic stay order halts all collection attempts, including wage garnishment. However, there are certain debts that cannot be protected from garnishment in bankruptcy. Back due child support, criminal restitution and some tax debts are not eligible to become part of a bankruptcy filing and the garnishment order may continue. Most other forms of debt can be protected from garnishment while a repayment plan is developed in Chapter 13 bankruptcy.