I am often asked, “Can bankruptcy stop a wage garnishment?” The fact is many people in Walnut Creek, Concord, Richmond, Pinole, Pittsburg and Antioch owe money they can’t pay. Overwhelmed, they wait and worry about what might happen to them. Most have tried to explain their situation to various debt collectors only to find humility and honesty all but ignored. They learn to ignore form letters and automated calls. Silently they carry the fear that one day their wages will be garnished. Often that day comes when their employer notifies them that a portion of their check (usually 25%) will be taken to satisfy a creditor. And not just one check, every check until the debt is paid in full with interest and attorney fees. Yes, creditors can and do add interest and attorney fees. Out of time and out of options, people turn to bankruptcy to stop the garnishment.
A bankruptcy is a federal court order that requires bill collectors to stop trying to collect most debts. That includes stopping a wage garnishment from a collection agency like Rash Curtis, CACH, Midland Credit Management or Portfolio Recovery Services. Once a bankruptcy is filed, a court order called the “automatic stay” goes into effect to protect the downtrodden consumer from his or her creditors. The clerk of the court will notify all creditors by mail but a savvy lawyer will expedite noticing by calling and/or faxing the order to all “hot” creditors including a garnishing creditor. At the Law Office of Michael Primus we go the extra mile to make sure a garnishment stops immediately upon filing of a bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy offers little or no protection when the debt being collected is for child support or alimony, or involves a criminal conviction. Note: collection agencies often make false threats about having people contacted by the sheriff or even arrested. Owing money is not a crime and failure to pay is not a criminal act.
This is a general discussion of the law and should not be relied upon. Any person considering bankruptcy should consult a lawyer for a detailed discussion of his or her rights and options.
At the Law Office of Michael Primus, we have helped hundreds of clients get out of debt, stop wage garnishments, and start fresh through bankruptcy. If you live in Contra Costa County and have debt problems, contact us for a free in-office consultation. We have offices in Walnut Creek, Antioch and Hercules.