If you are struggling with debt, having your wages garnished may feel like a final blow you cannot recover from. In Florida, a creditor can garnish 25% of your income or the amount of your income that exceeds 30 times the federal minimum wage, whichever is less. For a person who is already struggling with credit card bills, medical bills and other forms of debt, losing any part of a paycheck, let alone a full quarter, is unthinkable. The good news? Bankruptcy stops wage garnishment and other creditor actions immediately.
How does bankruptcy stop wage garnishment?
As soon as you file for bankruptcy, a legal injunction called the automatic stay goes into effect. The automatic stay makes it unlawful for creditors to garnish your wages, seize your bank accounts and take other collection actions against you. If it seems like your creditors always have the upper hand, you will learn how quickly the situation changes when you harness the full power of bankruptcy law.
While the bankruptcy process can take months in the case of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, or years in the case of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the automatic stay is immediate. If you can’t afford to lose a single paycheck, you can file today and enjoy these strong protections without delay.
Do you qualify as head of family?
If you qualify as “head of family” for tax reporting purposes, your wages cannot be garnished unless you submit to the garnishment by written consent. In some cases, that consent is given during the contract-signing of the initial loan relationship, so make sure you know what your agreements say before you rely on this exemption. Even if you do submit, your wages cannot be garnished if you make $750 or less per week.
Explore your options
For many people in Florida, bankruptcy has stopped wage garnishment and helped them move on to a future free from debt problems. Discuss your situation with an experienced attorney who can help you explore the possibility of filing for bankruptcy as well as other debt relief options.