Can wages garnished from my pay be refunded through bankruptcy?

I am currently going through bankruptcy and a wage garnishment just started on my check. Can I ask for that money to be refunded?

Asked on November 6, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Maryland


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Once a bankruptcy is filed. At that point something known as an "automatic stay" goes in to  effect. this means that no further collection action can be taken by your creditors (the only exception may be for on-going court ordered child or family support). So all garnishment activity should cease. As to any collection prior to your filing, your creditor is entitled to keep that money. To the extent any amounts have been taken from your check post-bankruptcy filing you're bankruptcy estate is entitled to those amounts back.

That all having been said, if your crediotr files a valid claim, your creditor is still entitled to share in the distribution of your non-exempt assets. Also, depending on the Chapter filed, they may again be entitled to payments at some future point. However, right now all garnishments must cease. You need to notify your employer as to your filing. They should know to stop any paycheck deductions from hereon (also your Trustee can send them notice as well).  

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