Can bankruptcy stop a wage garnishment?

Yes, most wage attachments can be easily stopped with the filing of a Bankruptcy petition.

Better still, in most cases, money recently taken by wage attachment can actually be recovered.

Naturally, there are some technicalities.  You have to read sections 522(h) and 547 of the Bankruptcy Code and piece them together to find the answer.  Section 522(h) gives the debtor the right to “avoid” certain involuntary transfers, like wage garnishments, if they are covered in section 547 which describes transfers of more than $600 and within the past 90 days before filing.

This means that if a $100 per week wage attachment has just recently gone into effect, and only $100 or $200 has been seized, a bankruptcy petition can stop future wage garnishments, but you may not reverse the ones that have already occurred because you are under the $600 threshold.  On the other hand, if the creditor has already seized $500, and you can bear to wait one more pay cycle, you can stop future garnishments, and you can recover the whole $600 seized in the past six weeks.

So, timing is very important.

Also, you must be able to “exempt” the income seized.  In most cases, we will be able to claim an appropriate exemption.

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