Wage garnishments are allowed in Georgia for certain types of debt. Your creditor receives a portion of the money from your wages each pay period until the debt is paid in full. For individuals living on a very tight budget or paycheck-to-paycheck, a wage garnishment can be financially devastating. However, our Georgia bankruptcy attorney has good news. You can stop a wage garnishment in Georgia by filing a bankruptcy case.
Filing Bankruptcy to Stop Wage Garnishments in Georgia
Wage garnishments by creditors are not permitted in some states. In those states, government agencies may be permitted to garnish wages, but a creditor must take other legal actions to collect a debt. However, Georgia allows creditors to receive up to 25 percent of your earnings each pay period until the debt is paid in full. Furthermore, the total debt you owe is likely to be much higher than the actual debt because the court allows the creditor to add attorney fees, court costs, and interest to the amount owed on the account.
Fortunately, there are some defenses to wage garnishment, but you must have alleged those defenses before the court entered the wage garnishment order. If a wage garnishment order has been issued or you do not have a valid defense to the petition to garnish wages, filing a bankruptcy petition can help.
Chapter 13 vs. Chapter 7
Most individuals file under Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code. In either case, filing the bankruptcy petition stops wage garnishments immediately. Debtors are protected by the automatic stay provisions of the Bankruptcy Code as soon as the case is filed. The automatic stay prohibits a creditor from taking any further action to collect a debt without court approval, including garnishing wages.
If the debt is dischargeable (like a credit card) and you are eligible to file under Chapter 7, the bankruptcy filing completely eliminates your personal liability for the debt. At the conclusion of the case, the debt is discharged, and the creditor cannot take any collection actions. However, if the debt is not eligible for a discharge (like a student loan), the creditor may resume garnishing your wages after your Chapter 7 case is complete. Examples of debts that are not eligible for discharge include alimony, most taxes, student loans, and child support.
When the debt that is being garnished is not eligible for a discharge, you may want to consider filing under Chapter 13. The Chapter 13 petition immediately stops the wage garnishment. The debt is included in your Chapter 13 repayment plan and spread out over 60 months. In other words, you can repay the debt over five years, protect your wages, and get rid of your other debts by filing under Chapter 13.
Is Bankruptcy Right for Me?
If your wages are being garnished or you suspect an order may be granted soon, you need to speak with our Georgia bankruptcy attorney. Once the creditor has your money, there is usually nothing we can do to recover the funds. Therefore, it is best to seek the advice of an attorney as quickly as possible.
Learn more by contacting a skilled Georgia bankruptcy attorney today. Our Georgia bankruptcy attorneys review your case to determine what options are available for stopping wage garnishments. In some cases, there could be an alternative to filing bankruptcy that an attorney may discuss with you. However, filing a bankruptcy case is usually the quickest and surest way to stop wage garnishment.
Posted in: Bankruptcy