I frequently meet with individuals who ask me whether or not bankruptcy will stop their garnishment. My answer always surprises them a little. Not only will a bankruptcy stop your garnishment, but if we file you before your garnishment hearing date, we can even get that money back for you! Now of course there are a couple stipulations to go with this (1) we have to have you filed before your garnishment hearing date, and (2) if you have filed for bankruptcy before we need to make sure that there is enough exemption left on your Homestead Deed.
The way that a garnishment works is first your creditor has to get a judgment against you (unless they are the IRS or Student Loans). Once they have a judgment against you they can immediately start to garnish up to 25% of your take home pay. This is a huge hit for some people.
When you are being garnished that money isn't going directly to the creditor. Instead it is going into a trust account with the court and it will sit in this account until your Garnishment Hearing Date, when the creditor comes to pick it up. This is why as long as we file your bankruptcy before your hearing date, we can get that money back for you.
Say that it is past the hearing date though. Sometimes it is still a good idea to file for bankruptcy. otherwise that creditor will keep coming back with a garnishment until you are paid off. Everytime they file a new garnishment more and more fees are added on to your bill (interest, attorney's fees, etc.). What started off as a $3,000 can quickly turn into $11,000 and more! It may seem like you will never pay the bill off.
This is why even though you might not get that money back it's still a good idea to file for bankruptcy because it will stop any furture garnishments from happening.
If you are struggling with a garnishment that you cannot pay, contact Hampton Roads Legal Services at 757-320-2010. I will meet with you one-on-one and discuss how a bankruptcy can help you to become debt free.