If you are thinking of filing bankruptcy due to a Wage Garnishment Order, you are probably wondering whether or not the bankruptcy will simply only stop future garnishments or whether it will also help you to get your garnished wages back. As long as your wages are not being garnished due to unpaid child support or student loans for example, then filing bankruptcy will stop your future wages from being garnished and it might be possible to get some of your garnished wages back. But, the surroundings circumstances must be in your favor in order to get you wages back; specifically,
- The wages garnished must have been $600.00 or more within the 90 days prior to filing bankruptcy as you can only recover garnished wages from the 90 days preceding filing bankruptcy; and
- You can exempt the wages once they are returned to you.
If theses two elements are present, the next thing to do is to determine whether or not it is even worth trying to get your garnished wages back. This is because it requires an adversary proceeding to the filed within your bankruptcy case, which of course costs additional attorney fees. Depending on how much of your wages you can get back and exempt, it might not be worth getting them back if the attorney fees are equal to or greater than what you will be getting back.
This decision needs to be made before actually filing your bankruptcy as the garnished wages need to be listed on your schedules and then elected to be exempted. It is also very important to note that the garnished wages will not be returned right away. It will most likely take several months for you to receive your wages.
It also may be possible to recover your garnished wages by simply sending the creditor a demand letter. If the letter gets to an attorney who is familiar with bankruptcy law, then they should know that you are entitled to the funds being returned to you and, if not, an adversary proceeding will be filed. However, it is important to send such a letter as soon as possible as you can only file an adversary proceeding to recover your garnished wages while your bankruptcy is open. A Chapter 7 is only open for around 120 days.
If the garnished wages have simply only been taken out of your paycheck and never sent to your creditor, then they should still be being held by your employer. If that is the case, then your employer should simply return the funds to you once they receive notice that you have filed bankruptcy. However, you will only be able to keep the funds if you are able to exempt them.
If your wages are currently being garnished and you are thinking of filing bankruptcy in order to stop the wage garnishment, contact an experienced bankruptcy attorney today at the Law Office of David M. Goldman, PLLC by calling (904) 685-1200. Not only can a bankruptcy attorney help you file bankruptcy, they can also help you determine whether bankruptcy is right for you and whether or not you will be able to or if you should seek to have your garnished wages returned to you.