Wage Garnishment Attorney
Bankruptcy will stop wage garnishment and discharge your debts once and for all. If your payroll department has been served with an earnings withholding order it is only a matter of time before your wages will be garnished. Schedule a FREE PHONE CONSULTATION or FREE OFFICE CONSULTATION and with our garnishment attorney in the Bay Area and find out if bankruptcy is right for you. 1-877-963-9543
Filing bankruptcy will stop wage garnishment and discharge the underlying judgment that was entered against you. As soon as your bankruptcy case is filed we will fax the notice of bankruptcy filing to your payroll department, the levying officer and the law firm that is enforcing the judgment. The levying officer is usually the sheriff in the county you work or where your payroll department is located. If the bankruptcy is filed soon after your wages have been garnished then the garnished wages should be returned to you. The party garnishing you will normally send a notice of termination of the withholding order to the levying officer. Some levying officers, the civil division of the sheriff’s department in the county you work, will require a copy of the first page of the bankruptcy petition and schedule F listing the debt to stop wage garnishment. Schedule F is the schedule in which general unsecured debts (dischargeable debts) are listed. Make sure your garnishment attorney completes this task as soon as possible after the bankruptcy case is filed. Then the levying offer will forward the termination of the withholding order to your payroll department.
Once the order discharging your debts is entered by the court you will no longer have to worry about the lawsuit or the garnishment of your wages again. If you own real property a judgment lien could have been recorded against your property though. That is separate subject and must be looked into carefully. Depending upon your circumstances a judgment lien recorded against your real property can be stripped off or avoided. A lien is only secured up to the value of the collateral securing the judgment lien. In a Chapter 13 case you can either value the collateral and strip off the judgment lien or file a motion to avoid the judgment lien because the lien impairs the bankruptcy filer’s exemption. Another issue is if the judgment resulted from some sort of fraud. Filing for bankruptcy may not get rid of a debt incurred due to fraud. Your garnishment attorney will explain how a judgment creditor will have to file an adversary proceeding and proof the underlying debt should not be discharged due to fraud. It all depends upon the circumstances. Most debts discharged in bankruptcy are a result of breaches of contracts, not fraud. Most garnishment attorneys know about bankruptcy law and will be able to explain the different scenarios based upon your circumstances.
Wage garnishment is the result of a judgment being obtained against you and the judgment then being enforced by the judgment creditor. Many collection agencies will threaten to garnish your wages without ever mentioning they have to sue you and have a judgment entered against before they can garnish your wages. If a creditor threatens to garnish your wages and they have not sued you already they are lying to you. In California, the maximum amount that can be garnished is 25% of your net income. Yes, net income. So after the federal taxes, state taxes and disability are deducted, any other deductions like retirement account or healthcare, then deduct 25% and that is the maximum garnishment allowed each pay period until the judgment is satisfied in full.
Your employer should provide you with the information served upon them including information about how to claim exemptions to attempt to lower the amount that can be garnished from you earnings. See Claim of Exemption Wage Garnishment for more information. There is no guarantee that you will reduce the amount your wages are garnished, but it is worth a shot. If you have many dependents that you must take care of it is possible to stop wage garnishment in its entirety.
Each individual state has different laws governing wage garnishment under the umbrella of federal laws setting certain minimum standards to follow. In California the primary laws are under California Code – Title 9: Enforcement of Judgments §§680.010 – 724.260. See California Wage Garnishment Laws for more detailed information. Please give our garnishment attorneys a call at 1-877-963-9543 to schedule a free consultation and stop wage garnishment.
With offices in Redwood City, San Francisco, San Jose, Fremont and Oakland we represent clients throughout the Bay Area including San Mateo County, Santa Clara County, Alameda County, Contra Costa County, Burlingame, Daly City, Foster City, Half Moon Bay, Millbrae, Pacifica, Redwood City, San Bruno, San Mateo, South San Francisco, Cupertino, Gilroy, Los Gatos, Milpitas, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Concord, Danville, Martinez, Pittsburg, Pleasant Hill, Richmond, San Pablo, San Ramon, Walnut Creek, Berkeley, Dublin, Hayward, Livermore, Pleasanton, San Leandro and Union City.