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Does Bankruptcy Protect You From Wage Garnishment?

by | May 31, 2024 | Bankruptcy, Bankruptcy Attorney Tampa

A sudden loss of income due to wage garnishment can be a severe blow to a household. Creditors have the legal right to seize up to 25% of your earnings. Even if you work for the state or its agencies, the creditor still has the right to garnish their wages.

However, once you file for bankruptcy, a garnishment must cease immediately under what is known as an “automatic stay.” This means creditors can no longer garnish your wages for debts such as credit card bills, medical expenses, or deficiency judgments. In Florida, a creditor with a judgment against you can garnish up to 25% of your net income after taxes and Social Security deductions. Garnishment can be especially crippling for those already facing financial difficulties, pushing them further into debt.

Generally speaking, the court will send a garnishment order to your employer after a creditor gets a judgment against you. The order may require the employer to regularly deduct part of your wages until the judgment is paid or the court says otherwise. After a judgment is entered, creditors initiate the collection process, often waiting to file garnishments later. Debt garnishment can occur swiftly or long after the creditor receives a judgment in their favor. Creditors can inquire about your assets, employment, and bank accounts through a court order. If you have a judgment against you, it’s crucial to consult with an attorney promptly to protect your assets and ensure a timely response.

It’s disheartening to hear from clients who have had their entire bank account seized right after payday, leaving them unable to cover bills, let alone afford to file for bankruptcy. Unfortunately, once money is garnished, you cannot reclaim it. Additionally, garnished wages can leave individuals living paycheck to paycheck, falling behind on other financial obligations. Addressing these issues is crucial to protect your assets and prevent garnishment.

The information provided on this page is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. Please contact a licensed bankruptcy attorney to determine your bankruptcy eligibility options.