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How Can Bankruptcy Stop a Wage Garnishment?

Untitled-1What is Wage Garnishment and how does it work?

Wage garnishment is a court order that compels your employer to deduct a certain amount of money from each paycheck you receive and send it directly to your creditor until your creditor is paid in full. Luckily there are limits set by law on the amount of money that can be garnished from each paycheck.

Florida requires your creditor to first obtain a judgment from a court before they can request a wage garnishment. Once a judgment order has been obtained, your creditor files a Motion for Continuing Writ of Garnishment with the Court. The Court then provides a Continuing Writ of Garnishment Against Salary or Wages, which is served on your employer. Your employer then has 20 days from receiving it to file a response with the Court. Your employer’s answer must state whether or not they are in fact your employer, as well as the frequency of your pay periods and the amount of your salary and wages. The writ then directs your employer of where to send the withheld money and how much shall be withheld. The only instances where your paycheck can be garnished without a judgment from the court is when it is for debt owed for income taxes, child support, or student loans.

How to Stop Wage Garnishment in Florida?

Florida has very specific wage garnishment exemptions that can stop a wage garnishment. The main exemption is the head of household exemption. This applies if you provide more than half of the support for a child or dependent. If this exemption does not apply to you, it is likely that the only option available to you to stop a wage garnishment is bankruptcy.

As soon as you file bankruptcy, an automatic stay goes into affect. The automatic stay mandates that all creditors must stop all collection efforts and this includes wage garnishments. However, if the garnishment is for a priority debt, such as back-owed child support, filing bankruptcy will have no affect. This automatic stay stays in place until you receive a discharge from the bankruptcy court, your bankruptcy is dismissed or your creditor asks the court for permission to continue with the wage garnishment. If you receive a discharge and the debt associated with the wage garnishment was included in the discharge, then the wage garnishment will not continue after you receive your discharge.

If your wages are currently being garnished, or you believe they soon will be, it is a good idea to consult with a bankruptcy attorney as soon as possible. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can help you determine whether filing bankruptcy is the best way for you to stop your wage garnishment. Contact the Law Office of David M. Goldman, PLLC today for a free initial consultation. We will do everything possible to try and stop your wage garnishment as soon as possible.

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