Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyer: Will Filing Bankruptcy Halt a Wage Garnishment Order?
In most cases, Chapter 7 bankruptcy will halt wage garnishment in Pennsylvania. The most significant exception is that bankruptcy has no impact on obligations to pay child support. Another significant exception is if you work in a different state, like New Jersey or Delaware where the state rules may differ.
Wage Garnishment Explained
Wage garnishment occurs after a judgment is executed against you. The general timeline of events is as follows:
- First, you are served with a complaint and summons. These complaints vary from unpaid tax debt to unpaid child support.
- If you are found liable in the proceedings, the judgment will be executed and the plaintiff can request wage garnishment. The court, sheriff, banks, and other entities must enforce the judgment and allow the plaintiff to collect against you.
- The plaintiff provides the wage garnishment order to the Sheriff, usually. The Sheriff reviews the order to ensure its validity, and then serves your employer.
- The order instructs your employer to withhold a certain amount of dollars from your check every pay period to be remitted to the creditor. The order tells your employer to continue garnishing your wage until the amount of the judgment is fulfilled (including interest).
In short, wage garnishment is a method which allows a plaintiff to directly collect on a judgment against you. Wage garnishment is intrusive, alerting your employer that you are engaged in litigation, and directly reduces your income, (subject to several exceptions including your ability to pay).
Effect of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 bankruptcy provides some protections and debt forgiveness, if a debtor qualifies. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer will go over the particulars of bankruptcy and help you decide which method is best for your situation.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy results in an automatic stay from creditors. The stay is automatically in effect the moment your case is filed by the bankruptcy court, with some very limited exceptions. The stay prohibits creditors from taking any action to collect against you (including wage garnishment) during the pendency of the bankruptcy case.
When you file for bankruptcy, the court will send notices to your creditors. The creditors are then required to take the necessary steps to halt wage garnishment. If a creditor delays compliance, you can seek the assistance of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer to contact the creditor and Sheriff’s office to accelerate the process. Your employer will only halt the garnishment when they receive notice from the Sheriff. Therefore, ensuring the Sheriff timely responds to the bankruptcy is crucial, and a Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer will help facilitate this process.
Call Alfred Abel Law Offices for a Skilled Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyer
Alfred Abel Law Offices has been helping Philadelphia-area clients with bankruptcy needs for 35 years. For an experienced Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer, contact Alfred Abel Law Offices today!