Most of us hate the feeling of not being able to repay a debt. If you’re struggling to make payments and collection agents are harassing you, threatening to take your assets or bothering your friends, family members or neighbors, it’s easy to become depressed and/or anxious. 

The reality of wage garnishment can be a nightmare. By getting a legal judgment against you, a creditor can go into your paycheck and take money you need for critical expenses like food and housing. That can be very bad news.

How can bankruptcy stop wage garnishment?

What bankruptcy can do about garnishment

If you file for bankruptcy (like a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13), an automatic stay can stop serious collection actions, including wage garnishments and bank levies. It will also put an end to the annoying phone calls and letters from creditors that are included in the bankruptcy.

It’s not just the collection; it’s the debt itself that must be addressed for lasting relief. Many consumer bankruptcies are used to discharge (or restructure) the debt that drives the collections behavior. That’s great news for those who qualify.

What bankruptcy can’t do

Some kinds of wage garnishment cannot be stopped with bankruptcy. Child support and spousal support garnishments generally aren’t affected by a bankruptcy filing. But even if you must still make support payments, your financial situation will improve if you get rid of other debts.

On the contrary, tax-related garnishments from the IRS and other authorities, though pesky, aren’t impossible to fix. Tax debt can often be negotiated with or without bankruptcy. IRS and state garnishments can be changed once you reach a deal with the taxing authority to which you owe money.

Get the advice you need

Personal debt is a complicated thing, and so is bankruptcy. It is important to consult a professional before making any significant legal decision.