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How do I stop wage garnishments after filing for bankruptcy?

People often incorrectly assume that once they file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, wage garnishments will stop automatically. Although filing does call for an immediate stay of wage garnishments, it is not an automatic process.

Often, the creditor, your employer and the sheriff's office will not receive immediate notification of a bankruptcy filing. Instead, it is the responsibility to notify all parties often falls on the debtor.

Below are some steps to take to ensure your bankruptcy results in an automatic stay of wage garnishment:

  • When filing for Chapter 7, be sure to list all of your creditors. There is a chance they will be notified in time to prevent garnishments or to stop them sooner.
  • After you file, give a copy of your petition to your employer immediately so they are aware that legally garnishments should stop. This notification can be sent directly to your payroll department
  • Notify the sheriff or levying officer immediately about your bankruptcy filing. They will often receive notification from the creditor, but by also informing them you can cover your bases.¬†
  • Be persistent and proactive when it comes to following up on notifications to either the creditor or sheriff's office. They may be busy, so it never hurts to stay on their radars.
  • Consider hiring an experienced bankruptcy attorney to help with your Chapter 7 filing as well as with wage garnishment issues. This person can often advocate on your behalf by following up with creditors and the levying officer, and may even achieve success sooner because of their experience with these types of issues.

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