When you fall too deeply into debt, matters can go from bad to worse. Not only might you be unable to keep up with your payments, but if your creditor is taking a percentage of your wages in payment of the debt— a process known as garnishment — it can be even harder to make ends meet and pay your other debts. For the past four decades, Gates Law Group, A Professional Corporation has helped Californians stop wage garnishments.
When you file for bankruptcy, an automatic stay stops your creditors from taking further action against you, including wage garnishment, with certain exceptions. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, also known as a liquidation, your wages can continue to be garnished to pay past due alimony and child support. Finally, your creditors may file a motion to lift the automatic stay, although you will have an opportunity to object.
If two bankruptcies you previously filed were dismissed within the past year, you will need to prove to the bankruptcy court that they were not filed in bad faith before you can get an automatic stay. If one bankruptcy you previously filed was dismissed within the past year, the automatic stay will terminate in 30 days, unless you likewise convince the judge that it was not filed in bad faith.
Once you explain your situation to us, we can advise whether you are likely to have any problems putting or keeping a stay in place.
If you are subject to wage garnishment that can be stopped by an automatic stay, you don’t want to wait for the stay to take effect. The creditor won’t stop garnishing until it has notice of the stay. It usually takes several days after you file your bankruptcy petition before the court sends out the notice and longer still before the creditor receives it. As your counsel, we will notify the garnishing creditors promptly after we have filed your bankruptcy.
An automatic stay lasts only as long as the bankruptcy does, but what happens once the bankruptcy ends? That depends on whether or not the debt for which your wages are being garnished is dischargeable — that is, whether the court can eliminate it at the end of the case. Creditors can’t continue to garnish your wages for dischargeable debt but can do so for nondischargeable ones. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, once you pay some of your pre-bankruptcy debts in accordance with a court-approved plan, the debts remaining will be discharged and your creditors won’t be able to garnish your wages to satisfy them. In Chapter 7 bankruptcies, some types of pre-bankruptcy debts, as well as those incurred after filing, cannot be eliminated. We can advise you which debts are dischargeable and protect you from further wage garnishment for those debts.
Gates Law Group, A Professional Corporation helps its clients stop wage garnishment through the bankruptcy process. Please call 559-432-9944 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation. We serve clients from our main office in Fresno and locations in Paso Robles and Visalia.