If you owe money to a creditor and have discovered that a chunk of your monthly salary is being withheld from you, you are likely dealing with wage garnishment. Wage garnishments are usually the result of a court order that directs your employer to withhold a certain amount from your paycheck to send to a creditor.
When you’ve fallen into financial hardship, we understand that having even just a fraction of your wages taken from you can make affording daily living expenses tough. This is why our experienced bankruptcy lawyers help clients every day to stop wage garnishment in its tracks.
What is Wage Garnishment?
Wage garnishment is one of the many routes that a creditor will take in order to collect the debt you owe them. Once the creditor gets a judgement against you from court, your employer will be notified to start taking a portion of your paycheck and redirecting those funds to the creditor. Wage garnishment will continue to be in effect until your debts are fully paid off.
Types of debt subject to wage garnishment include:
- Consumer debt
- Credit card
- Child support
- Federal student loans
What are the Wage Garnishment Laws in Georgia?
Wage garnishment rules vary from state to state. Here are some limits on wage garnishment in Georgia:
- A creditor cannot garnish more than 25 percent of your disposable income for the week (or 15% for private student loan debt)
- The wage garnishment order cannot take amounts over 30 times the federal minimum wage
Does Filing for Bankruptcy Stop Wage Garnishment?
With a bankruptcy attorney on your side, you can almost immediately stop a wage garnishment. Once you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, an automatic stay goes into place. This stops all debt collection efforts, including wage garnishment. While bankruptcy might not be right for everyone, if you are overwhelmed due to outstanding debts and possibly a garnished paycheck, filing for bankruptcy just may be your light at the end of the tunnel.
Should I file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?
Experienced lawyers for garnishments will match you to the best bankruptcy filing option based on your unique financial situation and long-term goals. There are several ways to determine if a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing is right for you. We are here to help guide you through that process.
At a basic level, debts including credit cards, personal loans, and medical bills are discharged through Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Thus, if your wage garnishment was put in place for these types of debt, you will not experience wage garnishment after the bankruptcy case ends.
On the other hand, if your debt consists of student loans or back taxes, it can continue once the case is closed. For this type of debt, it may be more beneficial to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, in order to restructure your debt into a manageable payment plan.
Schedule a Consultation with Barbara B. Braziel
Many individuals and families live paycheck to paycheck — and when this income is affected by wage garnishment, it can become nearly impossible to cover necessary living expenses. If you are experiencing this firsthand, let us help you through it. We work with families in Savannah and the surrounding areas to file for bankruptcy and to help get them back on their feet. Contact us today for guidance on how to handle wage garnishment in your unique situation.