What is a wage garnishment?
A wage garnishment is an order to withhold your wages for the payment of a money judgment obtained by a creditor against you. The order is served upon your employer directly. In addition to the original debt owed to the creditor, the money judgment may also include attorney's fees, costs of suit, and post-judgment interest. Note that the IRS may garnish your wages as an administrative levy. No court order for garnishment is required.
In general, a maximum of 25% of your disposable income may be withheld to pay the judgment against you.
Filing for bankruptcy (Chapter 7, 13, or 11) will prevent a wage garnishment or stop a wage garnishment from continuing. Section 362(a)(1) of the Bankruptcy Code specifies that a petition operates as a stay of enforcement of a judgment obtained against you prior to commencement of the bankruptcy case. This law includes a wage garnishment but generally does not include the collection of a "domestic support obligation."
The debt may also be discharged in bankruptcy in its entirety assuming that it is not in a category of debts which are considered "non-dischargeable." For example, current taxes, student loans, and unpaid child or spousal support cannot be discharged in Chapter 7. This list of categories is not exhaustive and there are other types of debts which the bankruptcy may not discharge. However, except for certain categories of debt, bankruptcy can avoid the garnishment and discharge the debt on which the judgment is based.
You must file for bankruptcy prior to the garnishment taking effect. The Law Offices of Keith F. Carr is capable of filing your bankruptcy - Chapter 7, 11, or 13 - on an emergency basis. Read more about Emergency Bankruptcy Filings. We will then send bankruptcy notices to the sheriff's office which issued the order for garnishment and your employer in order to tell them that bankruptcy prevents the garnishment of your wages.