Can Wage Garnishments be Stopped when Filing for Bankruptcy?

If you haven’t yet filed for bankruptcy, but are in debt to some creditors, it is possible that they can have the court order that your wages be garnished if they provide evidence you are not paying them. This simply means that your payments to the creditor are directly pulled from your paychecks before you actually get the money. However, filing under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy should stop your wages from being garnished by creditor debts. This only applies to dischargeable debts, though; your non-dischargeable debts such as student loans can still be pulled from your paychecks if you’re late on payments.

Filing for bankruptcy puts what is called an “automatic stay” on any dischargeable debt you owe creditors. This means that creditors are no longer allowed to collect money from you, which ultimately means they are no longer able to go through with garnishing your wages. The “automatic stay” only stops your wage garnishments during the process of filing for bankruptcy, what happens to wage garnishments after your bankruptcy all depends on which type of bankruptcy you file under.

Under Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your nonexempt property is sold to help pay off whatever debt is owed to creditors. Any debt that you have remaining will be discharged. Because this type of bankruptcy wipes out any dischargeable debt, it will permanently stop creditors from garnishing your wages because you will no longer owe them money.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy has a much different plan for dealing with debts than Chapter 7. When filing for this type of bankruptcy, you won’t need to sell any of your property (exempt or nonexempt); instead, you will create a type of affordable payment plan to pay off your debts. With this type of bankruptcy you will include the debt causing the wage garnishments in to your payment plan.

Just remember that wage garnishments can only be stopped for dischargeable debt, they cannot be stopped for any non-dischargeable debt such as child support, alimony, or student loans.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

View all author posts →

Legal Blog Expert