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Does Bankruptcy Stop Wage Garnishment?

July 6, 2022

Wage garnishment can be a significant burden on your income. Bankruptcy can help relieve debt and stop wage garnishment, but not in every situation. Some debts cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. It is important to understand when bankruptcy stops wage garnishment - and when it does not. Our experienced St. Louis bankruptcy lawyer is here to answer all your questions about wage garnishment. 

The “Automatic Stay”

As soon as a bankruptcy case is filed, the court issues an “automatic stay.” This order prevents creditors from trying to collect debt while the bankruptcy case is pending. Debt collectors must stop calling you, sending letters, and taking other actions to collect. The automatic stay can also stop certain wage garnishments. If, for example, you had a wage garnishment order related to credit card debt, this debt can be discharged in bankruptcy. That means that you can be protected from having your wages garnished while the bankruptcy case is pending. 

Types of Wage Garnishment That Can Continue During Bankruptcy

Not every wage garnishment order will be stopped by the automatic stay. Some debts cannot be discharged in bankruptcy, such as alimony and child support arrears. These family support obligations will continue after a bankruptcy case is final, and your wages can be potentially be garnished for these debts while your case is pending. Other court orders (such as a criminal restitution order) can also be non-dischargeable debts that will not stop wage garnishment orders. 

Other Options to Stop Wage Garnishment 

Bankruptcy is part of a larger debt relief strategy. If your wages are being garnished due to a debt that cannot be discharged, there are still other options for stopping the wage garnishment. First, bankruptcy can discharge financial obligations to free up income. With this added income, you can make more aggressive payments on your non-dischargeable debt to stop the wage garnishment order as soon as possible. Your attorney might also negotiate a repayment plan with the creditor to settle the debt without a wage garnishment order. The best option for you will depend on your specific financial circumstances, so be sure to get an attorney’s opinion about the best strategy for debt relief in your unique situation.

An Experienced St. Louis Bankruptcy Lawyer Can Help You Stop a Wage Garnishment Order

Attorney Andrew Kirkwood Smith has over ten years of experience handling bankruptcy cases. He handles every case personally, and he has consistently delivered results for clients across Missouri. Call (314) 866-3955 to speak with a St. Louis bankruptcy lawyer right away. Our phones are answered 24/7, and all clients have our attorney’s direct cell phone number.