Can Bankruptcy Stop a Garnishment?
There are several reasons why a debtor may be considering filing bankruptcy and find the need to speak to a bankruptcy attorney. One of the top reasons however is a need to stop a wage garnishment. One of the most questions that I receive is consumers wanting to know whether bankruptcy can stop a garnishment. Filing either chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy will stop any kind of garnishment at the time of filing the bankruptcy case.
In order for a creditor to start to garnish your wages or bank accounts they must file and serve a summons and complaint on you. In Washington state you have 20 days to reply to the complaint to avoid getting a default judgement entered against you. If a default judgement is entered against you, then the creditor will proceed with sending a writ of garnishment to your employer or bank in order to start the garnishment process. Once your employer has received the writ of garnishment they will usually apply the applicable garnishment to your next pay check. Simply by filing an answer to the complaint, you can extend out the time it takes a creditor to get a judgement against you as a new court date may not be scheduled for up to a year. In the period between the filing of the answer and the new court date you can work towards a settlement of your debt, participate in the litigation discovery process in which you may ask the creditor to produce evidence that you owe the debt, or file bankruptcy to put an end to the court case and the debt that you owe. Failure to file an answer in the case may cause your wages to be garnished for up to 25% of your income. Furthermore if you are already being garnished, filing bankruptcy will stop any more of your hard earned earnings from being taken.
If you have additional questions regarding how to stop a wage garnishment in Washington State, please call Symmes law Group at 206-682-7975 to schedule your free consultation.