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Can My Wages Be Garnished After I File Bankruptcy?

  • By: Christopher Benson
  • Published: January 9, 2015

In Washington State, a creditor can garnish 25% of your Gross wages when they are granted a judgment against you. When you file for bankruptcy, you receive a protection from creditors called the automatic stay. The automatic stay protects you from collection activities, including phone calls, repossession, foreclosure, and wage garnishment, through the conclusion of the bankruptcy process.

However, two parties could violate the stay granted by your bankruptcy filing. These are your employer and your creditors. When you file for bankruptcy, you need to give a copy of your Notice of Bankruptcy filing to your employer so they will stop sending payments from your wages to your creditor. The creditor will get a copy of this petition as part of the bankruptcy process, and should immediately stop wage garnishment.

The only exception is wage garnishment for the purposes of collecting child support. Child support is not eligible for discharge in bankruptcy, so filing bankruptcy will not stop child support collection.

What happens to the paycheck that is being processed while you file for bankruptcy? In some states, this money goes into the bankruptcy estate, and in others it’s returned to the debtor. In Washington State, any money collected while the bankruptcy was being filed will be returned to the debtor.

Over the past 23 years, the Law Offices of Christopher A. Benson has helped over 3,000 of Washington clients take control of their financial situation. We can stop your garnishment and change your monthly payments for all your combined unsecured debt, and if you have had more than $600 garnished within the last 90 days, we can get all of the money back in most cases. But you have to act quickly–call (253) 815-6940 for your free consultation, or email us today. Evening and weekend appointments available.

Christopher Benson

About the Author Chris served on the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity
Seattle/S. King County for 10 years and served as Vice President
of the organization during part of that time. Read More